Home > Heart-Healthy Eating
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.
The American Heart Association publishes 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
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet aims to lower cholesterol by reducing saturated fat
in your diet.
For help with the TLC diet, see:
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 the TLC diet, 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 than the TLC diet.
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(What is a PDF document?) can help you see what foods are suggested in each plan.
Other Works Consulted
American Heart Association (2006). Diet and lifestyle
recommendations revision 2006. Circulation, 114(1):
82–96. [Erratum in Circulation, 114(1): e27.]
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.
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.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S.
Department of Agriculture (2010). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, 7th ed. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office. Also available online:
March 22, 2012
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Colleen Gobert, PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian
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