Eating for a healthy heart means eating foods that are rich in nutrients. The main sources are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Dairy and fish products are less beneficial.
Foods that help prevent or control heart disease also exclude certain foods. Experts recommend limiting salty foods and saturated fat foods, such as sausages and fatty red meat.
Diet to prevent or manage heart failure
The American Heart Association (AHA) Trusted Source says that a varied, high-quality diet can prevent adverse events in patients with heart disease.
A 2018 study looked at the effects of diet on people with this condition. This happened twice.
Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C. Micronutrient deficiencies result from not eating enough food, especially plant foods.
In addition to being rich in micronutrients, plant foods are also rich in fiber. Water is also important in a heart-healthy diet. Foods high in fiber:
Fruits like blueberries, raspberries, pears, and oranges
- Vegetable peas
- Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios
- Grains like brown rice, oats, quinoa, and 100% whole grain breads are fine
- Grains like beans and peas
Eating fish in moderation is also good for heart health because fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids, among other things, reduce the formation of arterial plaque. AHA Trusted Source recommends eating two servings of fish per week, with fatty types such as salmon and trout being the most beneficial.
Experts also recommend consuming dairy products in moderation. According to a 2018 paper, recent studies show that whole milk products have higher nutritional value than low-fat milk products.
Bioavailability refers to the ability to absorb and use food. The authors of this study found that fermented milk products such as yogurt and cheese are good for heart health.
The Mediterranean diet is not a specific diet, but a type of diet that focuses on eating vegetables, fruits, and herbs, and eating less fish and dairy products.
A 2016 study of more than 37,000 men suggests that the Mediterranean diet may be beneficial for people with heart disease.
The authors found a strong link between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and an increased risk of heart failure and death from heart failure.
Food and drink to prevent it
Doctors recommend cutting down on salt, avoiding foods that are full of saturated fat, and drinking too much alcohol.
According to the Committee on Occupational Medicine, low salt intake is important for reducing the risk of heart attack.
The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions offers the following recommendations for people to reduce their salt intake.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are naturally low in salt.
- Use herbs and spices to flavor foods such as chives, garlic, and sodium-free seasonings.
- Avoid fast food and processed foods.
- Choose unsalted snacks, such as carrots and unsalted almonds.
- Try to eat at home and don’t eat out occasionally.
- Filled and packaged foods
- According to a reliable source from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eating foods high in saturated fat or trans fat can lead to heart disease. Trans fat is a type of fat that turns into solid fat during food processing.
Foods high in saturated fat include:
- A fatty piece of meat
- coconut oil
- palm oil
- Soft ice cream
- Foods containing trans fats may include:
- Cookies, pies and crackers from the store
In a 2015 meta-analysis, researchers found that people who moderately limited their alcohol consumption had a lower risk of heart failure.
What is heart failure?
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 5.7 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure.
Right heart failure is the failure of the heart to pump enough blood to the lungs to receive oxygen. In left heart failure, the heart cannot pump oxygenated blood to all parts of the body.
Heart failure can be caused by conditions that cause the heart to overwork, become damaged, and weaken.
These conditions include:
- High blood pressure
- Ischemic heart disease, where plaque can build up in the arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke
- Second heart disease
Lifestyle apps that support heart health
While a healthy diet plays an important role in promoting heart health, other lifestyle habits can also help. People can try the following:
- Quit smoking if possible
- Regular exercise
- Learn to deal with stress
- Get enough sleep
- Maintain an average weight
Foods that help prevent or manage heart failure include foods rich in micronutrients that nourish the entire body, including the heart. It mainly comes from plant foods.
The Mediterranean diet is an example of a heart-healthy diet because it favors plant-based foods, including moderate amounts of fish and dairy products.
People can reduce their risk of heart failure by making some lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep each night.