Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart - PIH Health

Skip to Content

Published on February 08, 2016

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart

Fruits for a heart healthy diet

Fruits for a heart healthy dietEating healthy doesn’t mean eating things you don’t like. It means limiting or avoiding the things that aren’t good for you while increasing the ones that are. “When you eat healthy, you eat meats, dairy, bread and most of what you probably eat now, you just eat healthier versions,” says Sudhaker Nayak MD. “Although there may be instances where you may have to give up certain items entirely, in most cases, it simply requires you to adjust your eating habits, not wholly eliminate them.”

What To Eat

  • Eat a variety of nutrient-rich, lower calorie foods from all the food groups.
  • Fruits and vegetables: fresh, frozen or canned; dark green, deep orange and yellow are particularly nutritious
  • Whole grains: oats, whole wheat bread, brown rice
  • Fat free (skim) or low-fat dairy: avoid butter and regular fat products
  • Skinless poultry, lean meats and meat alternatives like tofu 
  • Fish: eat fish twice a week; choose tuna, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines
  • Nuts and legumes: basically any plant that bears fruit inside a pod
  • Non-tropical vegetable oils: canola, olive

What To Avoid or Limit

  • Saturated fat and trans fat (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils)
  • Sodium
  • Red meat
  • Sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Alcohol: limit it to 2 drinks a day for men, 1 for women

Stay Active

Physical activity is as important for your heart as the foods you eat. Know how many calories you consume; the amount depends on several factors including age, gender and level of physical activity.

  • To not gain weight – use up at least as many calories as you consume. Aim for at least 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise three to four times a week.
  • To lose weight – on average, reducing 500 calories per day results in 1 pound of weight loss a week (which is healthy). This can come from eating less, burning calories through exercise, or both. Do not go below 1,200 calories per day without medical supervision.

“Some of the American Heart Association dietary guidelines are adaptable and can be modified depending on our age. For example, we need fewer calories as we get older,” says Dr. Nayak. So talk to your doctor periodically to make sure you’re doing what you need to do to get or stay healthy.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Follow Us

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Instagram

Don't miss any Healthy Living Online posts - Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter.