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Heart-Healthy Eating

Overview

Heart-healthy eating means eating food that can help lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. It focuses on eating more healthy foods and cutting back on foods that aren't so good for you. It is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle that includes regular activity and not smoking.

A heart-healthy eating plan means that you:

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and other high-fiber foods.
  • Eat lean proteins, such as seafood, lean meats, beans, nuts, and soy products.
  • Eat healthy fats, such as canola and olive oil.
  • Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and avoid trans fat.
  • Limit sodium and alcohol.
  • Limit drinks and foods with added sugar.
  • Stay at a healthy weight by balancing the calories you eat with your physical activity.

There are a few heart-healthy eating plans. They include the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet.

DASH diet

The DASH diet is an eating plan that can help lower your blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It includes eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. It also includes eating whole grains, fish, and poultry.

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy style of eating. It features foods eaten in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. This diet emphasizes food rich in fiber and healthy fats. These include fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and high-fiber grains. The diet limits meat, cheese, and sweets.

Learn more

Credits

Current as of: September 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Colleen O'Connor PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian
Kathleen M. Fairfield MD, MPH, DrPH - Internal Medicine

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