A heart-healthy diet focuses on adding more healthy foods to your diet 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.
Expert groups publish heart-healthy diet guidelines for all adults and for children older than age 2.
To put these guidelines into action, see:
If you already have heart or blood vessel problems, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, specific eating plans can help you manage those problems.
A few simple ideas
Eat a heart-healthy diet that aims to lower cholesterol by reducing saturated fat in your diet.
To learn more, see:
The DASH diet is a good choice for people who have high blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension is high blood pressure.
For help with the DASH diet, see:
To learn more, see a sample menu for the DASH diet.
The Mediterranean diet can also help lower cholesterol. Like other diets, it limits saturated fat. But on the Mediterranean diet, you can eat more total fat—as long as it's unsaturated. It also allows more fish oils, olive oil, and nut and seed oils.
For more information, see the topic Mediterranean Diet.
With so many different food plans and health tips, it can be confusing to know what's best for you and your heart.
A chart that compares heart-healthy diets can help you see what foods are suggested in each plan.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Other Works Consulted
American Heart Association (2006). Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006. Circulation, 114(1): 82–96. [Erratum in Circulation, 114(1): e27.]
Eckel RH, et al. (2013). 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/11/11/01.cir.0000437740.48606.d1.citation. Accessed December 5, 2013.
Expert Panel on Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents (2011). Expert panel on integrated guidelines for cardiovascular health and risk reduction in children and adolescents: Summary report. Pediatrics, 128(Suppl 5): S213–S256.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (2006). Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure With DASH (NIH Publication No. 06-4082). Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/new_dash.pdf.
Smith SC, et al. (2011). AHA/ACCF secondary prevention and risk reduction therapy for patients with coronary and other atherosclerotic vascular disease: 2011 update: A guideline from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation, 124(22): 2458–2473. Also available online: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/124/22/2458.full.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2015). 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans 8th ed. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. Accessed January 12, 2016.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologyBrian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineColleen O'Connor, PhD, RD - Registered DietitianKathleen M. Fairfield, MD, MPH, DrPH - Internal Medicine
Current as ofDecember 6, 2017
Current as of: December 6, 2017
Rakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
& Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Colleen O'Connor, PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian & Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD, MPH, DrPH - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.