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Healthy Diet Guidelines for a Healthy Heart


Canadian experts publish dietary and lifestyle guidelines for general heart health.

These recommendations are for healthy adults at least 18 years old. These guidelines may also be useful for adults who have health problems, children, and teens. But talk to your doctor because some of these recommendations may be different.

Canada's food guide recommends that you make it a habit to eat a variety of healthy foods each day, limit highly processed foods, and be aware of things that can shape the food choices you make. Visit Canada's food guide for more information.

To follow a heart-healthy diet:

  • Eat a variety of fruit and vegetable servings every day. Examples include spinach, carrots, peaches, and berries. Check out Eat More Vegetables and Fruits for shopping tips, cooking tips, and recipes.
  • Eat a variety of grain products every day. Include whole grain foods that have lots of fibre and nutrients. Examples of whole grains include oats, whole wheat bread, and brown rice. Check out Choose Whole Grains to learn how to add more whole grains to your meals.
  • Eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and limit processed meat. Try to choose the following foods:
    • Lean meats, fish, and meat alternatives like beans or tofu
    • Unsaturated fats, like canola oil, olive oil, avocado, and nuts.
  • Limit sodium. Most people get far more sodium than they need. Try to limit how much sodium (salt) you eat. This is especially important for people who are at risk for or already have high blood pressure. Try to limit the amount of sodium you eat to 2,000 milligrams (mg) a day. footnote 1To learn more, check out Sodium and Your Diet and Cooking Without Salt.
  • Limit alcohol intake to 3 drinks a day for men and 2 drinks a day for women.
  • Limit drinks and foods with added sugar.

Some people may have special dietary needs. Older adults, young children, and people with kidney disease should talk with a dietitian or their doctor before changing their diet.



  1. Rabi DM, et al. (2020). Hypertension Canada's 2020 comprehensive guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis, risk assessment, and treatment of hypertension in adults and children. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 36(5): 596–624. DOI: 10.1016/j.cjca.2020.02.086. Accessed August 02, 2021.


Adaptation Date: 9/12/2023

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

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