Heart Healthy Diet


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America today.   81 million people have some form of heart disease, which is about 35% of our population, and research suggests that the fatty buildup in the arteries that causes heart disease can start in childhood so heart health is important for everyone!  The good news is that most of the factors that impact our risk for heart disease are controllable.


2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

  1. “Follow Healthy eating pattern across your lifespan.”
  2. “Focus on variety of foods, nutrient density of foods, and the amount of foods.”
  3. “Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce salt intake.”
  4. “Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.”


Heart Healthy Foods:

Whole Grains/High Fiber– ( look for 3 g fiber/serving, “100% whole wheat flour”) oatmeal, barley, quinoa, millet, bulgar wheat, whole wheat, brown rice, whole grain air-popped popcorn, beans and legumes

Lean Proteins- chicken, turkey, fish, peanut butter/almond butter, beans/legumes, tofu, eggs

Low-fat Dairy- skim milk or 2%, reduced fat cheese and yogurts

Fruits/Vegetables- Pretty much all fruits and vegetable are good for heart health but specifically spinach, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, avocados, berries, cantalope, papaya, and oranges.  Make your plate as colorful as possible!!

Healthy Fats – OMEGA-3 is best for heart health!  Use olive oil, flaxseed oil, grapeseed and coanola oil for salad dressings.  Canola, peanut and grapeseed oil for low heat sauteing.  Vegetable, peanut and sesame oil for high heat cooking.

Nuts and Seeds- Walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts are great for healthy fats, protein and fiber, just eat sparingly because they are high in calories.  .  Add ground flaxseed into smoothies, cereals and yogurts for a great fiber/Omega 3 combo!!


For more info and ideas check out www.eatright.org and www.heart.org!

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Blogger: Gail L. Fulsom PTA, NDTR, LMBT