Your Kitchen Makeover for Heart Health

Heart disease is the number-one killer of both men and women. But making just a few simple changes to your diet can make a big difference in keeping you and your family heart-healthy. And the first place to start is in the kitchen.

Start Your Heart Healthy Kitchen Makeover Here

The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods every day. It's always best to eat fresh foods, but when they aren't available, choose frozen or canned varieties that are packed in water without added sugars, saturated and trans fat or salt. And avoid sugary drinks and foods with added sugars. Here's what to include:

  • Lots of fruits and vegetables: At least 4.5 cups a day. Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are low in calories. Including lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet can help control your weight and your blood pressure.
  • Fiber-rich whole grains: Some to choose include whole-wheat flour, whole-grain bread, brown rice, and high-fiber cereal with five or more grams of fiber per serving. At least three one-ounce-equivalent servings daily.
  • Fish: For the greatest heart-healthy benefit, stick to fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can help lower blood fats called triglycerides. Try eating at least two 3.5-ounce servings a week.
  • Lean meats and poultry: To limit the amount of saturated fat in your diet, choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without adding saturated and trans fats like butter or margarine.
  • Reduce salt intake: To help control high blood pressure, choose and prepare foods with little or no salt and aim to eat less than 1,500 milligrams, or one teaspoon, of sodium daily.
  • Pick heart-healthy fats: Foods high in saturated and trans fats can increase your cholesterol level and raise your risk for heart disease. The types of foods high in saturated fats to limit in your diet include butter, margarine, lard, bacon fat, cream sauce, non-dairy creamers, and coconut, palm cottonseed, and palm-kernel oils. Instead stick to olive oil, canola oil, margarine that's free of trans fats and cholesterol-lowering margarine, such as Benecol, Promise active, or Smart Balance.

American Heart Association.

Mayo Clinic. "Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease."