Introduction: Heart-Healthy Foods
When it comes to your heart, what you eat matters. Follow these tips for heart-healthy eating:
1. Eat less saturated fats. Cut back on fatty meats, high-fat dairy, cakes, cookies, and butter. This includes pizza, burgers, and foods with creamy sauce or gravy.
2. Cut down on sodium (salt). Read the Nutrition Facts label and choose foods that are lower in sodium. Look for the low-sodium or “no salt added” types of canned soups, vegetables, packaged meals, snack foods, and lunch meats.
3. Get more fiber. Eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to add fiber to your diet.
Take this list with you the next time you go food shopping.
Vegetables and Fruits
Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits. Buy vegetables and fruits that are fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.
Fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage, and carrots
Leafy greens for salads, like Romaine lettuce, spinach, and kale
Canned vegetables that are low in sodium
Frozen vegetables without added butter or sauces, like broccoli or cauliflower
Fresh fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas, pears, and peaches
Canned, frozen, or dried fruit without added sugars
Farmer’s markets are great places to buy vegetables and fruits in season
Look for fat-free or low-fat options.
Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
Fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt
Fat-free or low-fat cheese
Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese
Soymilk with added calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D
Breads, Cereals, and Other Grains
For products with more than 1 ingredient, make sure whole wheat or another whole grain is listed first in the ingredient list. Look for products that say 100% whole grain.
Whole-grain bread, bagels, English muffins, and tortillas
Whole-grain hot or cold breakfast cereals with no added sugar, like oatmeal or shredded wheat
Whole grains such as brown or wild rice, quinoa, or barley
Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta and couscous
Choose a variety of foods with protein.
Seafood: fish and shellfish
Poultry: chicken or turkey breast without skin, lean ground chicken or turkey (at least 92% lean)
Pork: leg, shoulder, or tenderloin (95% fat free)
Beef: round, sirloin, tenderloin, or lean ground beef (at least 93% lean)
Beans and peas, like kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), split peas, and lentils
Unsalted nuts and seeds
Nut butters, like almond or peanut butter
Fats and Oils
Cut back on saturated fat and look for products with no trans fats. Choose foods with unsaturated fats like seafood, nuts, seeds, avocados, and oils.
Margarine and spreads (soft, tub, or liquid) with no trans fats and less saturated fats
Vegetable oil (canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, or sunflower)
Non-stick cooking spray
Salad dressings that are oil based
Avoid coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils, which are all high in saturated fat.