Managing a Healthy Heart

Managing a Healthy Heart

Eating a heart-healthy diet is important for managing blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke and other diseases.

Get quality nutrition from healthy food sources

Aim to eat a diet that’s rich in:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole-grain, high-fiber foods
  • Fat-free and low-fat (1%) dairy products
  • Beans
  • Skinless poultry and lean meats
  • Fish – especially fatty fish like salmon, trout and herring  – contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce heart attack risk, lowers blood pressure and slows artery hardening

And low in:

  • Saturated and trans fats
  • Sodium


  • Added sugars

Work with the chefs in your household and plan together for any necessary dietary changes. When dining out, look for healthy menu options.

Be a wise consumer

By adopting the habit of reading food labels, you can choose foods more wisely. Watch for foods that have high levels of saturated or hydrogenated fats and that include trans fat – all factors that can raise cholesterol. Eating foods high in sodium (salt) can increase blood pressure. Typically, the higher your salt intake, the higher your blood pressure.

When reading labels, watch for the following key terms, and know what they mean:

  • “Free”
    (Examples: cholesterol free, fat free, dairy free)
    When seeking to avoid a certain dietary element, labels with the term “free” are the safest bet.
  • “Very Low” and “Low”
    (Examples: very low sodium, low fat, low cholesterol)
    Products labeled “low” or “very low” may be helpful when seeking to reduce that specific dietary element.
  • “Reduced” or “Less”
    (Examples: reduced carbs, less sugar, reduced fats)
    These terms indicate that the food has 25 percent less of that nutrient than the standard version of the food. Therefore, “reduced sugar” peanut butter has at least 25 percent less sugar than its standard counterpart.

Source: American Heart Association