Recommended healthy diets for the heart to avoid any risk!

There are variety of diets which you enjoy in your daily life. However not all the diets are healthier for your heart. Your heart is a vital organ of the body which is the center of cardiovascular (cardio–heart, vascular–blood vessels) system. So choose healthy diets for the heart to avoid any cardiovascular risk.

Global prevalence of heart disease

Cardiovascular disease accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths globally in 2015, with nearly 18 million estimated deaths, according to results of a study published May 17 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC).

How can you save your heart ?

Along with medication, the food you eat can also play a vital role in managing your heart disease. If you are suffering from any heart disease or have potential to risk of heart disease, you must follow the recommended healthy diets for the heart.

Even if you add these diets in your daily meals without having heart disease, it would keep your heart healthy and reduces the risk of developing any cardiovascular disease.

Who recommended healthy diets for the heart ?

Several official health organizations recommends “healthy diets for the heart” with minor differences. I have combined them all, that are recommended by following organizations and journals:

1– Journal of the American College of Cardiology

2– The American Heart Association

3– Australian heart foundation.

4– US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

5– The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthHarvard University

6– American Academy of Family Physicians.

7– The European Society of Cardiology (ESC)

8– Various Research Papers (References are given at the end).

Recommended healthy diets for the heart

Eat following healthy diets for the heart :

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a specially designed eating plan to help you lower your blood pressure, which is a major cause of hypertension and stroke.

A large body of evidence supports that adherence to a DASH dietary pattern is linked to improvements in BP [1], body weight [2], glucose-insulin homeostasis [3], blood lipids and lipoproteins [4], inflammation grade [5,6], endothelial function [7,8], the gut microbiome [9,10], CVD risk [11,12], and total mortality [13,14].

Heart Healthy Diet

1– Fruits

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and American Heart Association Nutrition Committee strongly endorse the daily consumption of multiple servings of both fruits and vegetables in order to reduce CVD risk [15,16].

Eat a variety of fruits so that you can get every nutrient needed. Every fruit is rich with numerous nutrients but varies in quantity of nutrients and the types of nutrients.

Here are some fruits which are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and fiber.

  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupes
  • Papaya

Some researchers include Berries in healthy diets for the heart, especially Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries which improves heart function.

2– Vegetable

Eat all kinds of vegetables; especially leafy vegetables are more beneficial. Some of the vegetables are listed below which are recommended as healthy diets for the heart :

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Cauliflower
  • Bok choy
  • Tomato
  • Bell peppers
  • Avocados
  • Carrots

5– Whole grains and seeds

Whole grains represent unprocessed grains that contain the endosperm; the bran (the outer layer of the whole grain) and the germ are in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact grain.

In contrast, refined grains retain only the endosperm. Common whole grains include: whole wheat, whole rice, barley, corn, rye, oats, millet, sorghum, teff, triticale, canary seed, Job’s tears, fonio, buckwheat and quinoa and wild rice [17].

Soluble Fibers in different whole grains and seeds decreases cholesterol levels and improves digestion and blood pressure.

Add following seeds in your healthy diets for the heart:

  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Ground flaxseed which contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestogens to boost heart health.

6– Nuts and legumes

Nuts and legumes are healthy diets for the heart. Add unsalted nuts and legumes in your diet regularly.

Nuts, specifically peanuts and walnuts, have been demonstrated to reduce the CVD morbidity and mortality in numerous large prospective cohort studies [18,19].

The soybean is a legume that contains no cholesterol and is low in saturated fat, and is the only vegetable food that contains all eight essential amino acids. Soybeans are also a good source of fiber, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins [20].

Dried beans and lentils garbanzo, pinto, kidney or black beans, are high in fiber, B-vitamins, minerals.

7– Skinless poultry

You can eat poultry but without skin because skin contains saturated fats which are not good for cardiovascular system.

8– Fish

Eat following delicious fishes which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

  1. Salmon
  2. Tuna
  3. Herring
  4. Sardines
  5. Mackerel
  6. Trout

Fish oils

You can add Fish oils in your healthy diets for the heart that contain omega 3 fatty acids which are good for heart function. Usually this oil is obtained from above mentioned fish.

9– Low-fat dairy products

If you want to eat dairy products, eat fat-free (skim) and low-fat (1%) dairy products.

Organic dairy such as eggs, skim milk, or unsweetened yogurt are healthy diets for the heart.

10– Non-tropical vegetable oils

  • Olive oil

Several studies and meta-analyses have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of olive oil (OO) rich diets. [21,22,23]

Studies proved that Olive oils improved systolic and diastolic BP in both hypertensive and non-hypertensive patients [24,25,26].

  • Canola oil

Canola oil is one of the healthy diets for the heart which decreases the chances of CVD (cardiovascular disease).

11– Lean meat (Meat trimmed of fat)

Lean meats are healthy diets for the heart. You can eat lean meat even after the heart attack infrequently.

12– Choose caffeinated drinks

You can add caffeinated drinks in your healthy diets for the heart, like coffee and tea in moderation. Green tea is better one and is one of the healthy diets for the heart.

Not Recommended:

Don’t Eat following Un-healthy diets for the heart :

1– Saturated fat, Trans fat

Avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.

2– Sodium

Choose ‘no added salt’, ‘low-salt’ or ‘salt reduced’ foods where possible. Foods with less than 120 mg of sodium per 100g are considered low in salt. Sodium added foods are not healthy diets for the heart.

3– Red meat 

Processed meat such as bacon, sausage, and salami, and fried chicken Limit processed meats, including sausages, and deli meats, such as salami.

4– Sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages,

Don’t eat sweets and don’t drink sugar sweetened beverages.

  • Cakes, Pastries, cookies and pies
  • Candy, Ice cream
  • Sweetened yogurt and milk
  • Sweet breads and waffles

5– Miscellaneous

Too much drinking increases your risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and many other problems.

Avoid take away foods like Pizza, hot chips, fried fish and hamburgers.

Take Away

Do exercise along with recommended healthy diets for the heart.

Avoid foods and beverages high in calories but low in nutrients.

Don’t Smoke.

Don’t take stress. Try to reduce stress.

Life style modification may also impart wonderful improvement in heart functions.


1– Saneei P., Salehi-Abargouei A., Esmaillzadeh A., Azadbakht L. Influence of dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis on randomized controlled trials. Nutr. Metab. Cardiovasc. Dis. 2014;24:1253–1261. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2014.06.008. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

2– Soltani S., Shirani F., Chitsazi M.J., Salehi-Abargouei A. The effect of dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet on weight and body composition in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Obes. Rev. 2016;17:442–454. doi: 10.1111/obr.12391. [PubMed]

3– Shirani F., Salehi-Abargouei A., Azadbakht L. Effects of dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet on some risk for developing type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis on controlled clinical trials. Nutrition. 2013;29:939–947. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.12.021. [PubMed]

4– Millen B.E., Abrams S., Adams-Campbell L., Anderson C.A., Brenna J.T., Campbell W.W., Clinton S., Hu F., Nelson M., Neuhouser M.L., et al. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report: Development and Major Conclusions. Adv. Nutr. 2016;7:438–444. doi: 10.3945/an.116.012120. [PMC free article]

5– Soltani S., Chitsazi M.J., Salehi-Abargouei A. The effect of dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) on serum inflammatory markers: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Clin. Nutr. 2018;37:542–550. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2017.02.018. [PubMed]

6– Woo J., Yu B.W.M., Chan R.S.M., Leung J. Influence of Dietary Patterns and Inflammatory Markers on Atherosclerosis Using Ankle Brachial Index as a Surrogate. J. Nutr. Health Aging. 2018;22:619–626. doi: 10.1007/s12603-018-1031-7. [PubMed]

7– Rifai L., Pisano C., Hayden J., Sulo S., Silver M.A. Impact of the DASH diet on endothelial function, exercise capacity, and quality of life in patientswith heart failure. Bayl. Univ. Med. Cent. Proc. 2015;28:151–156. doi: 10.1080/08998280.2015.11929216. [PMC free article]

8– d’El-Rei J., Cunha A.R., Trindade M., Neves M.F. Beneficial Effects of Dietary Nitrate on Endothelial Function and Blood Pressure Levels. Int. J. Hypertens. 2016;2016:6791519. doi: 10.1155/2016/6791519. [PMC free article]

9– Marques F.Z., Mackay C.R., Kaye D.M. Beyond gut feelings: How the gut microbiota regulates blood pressure. Nat. Rev. Cardiol. 2018;15:20–32. doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2017.120. [PubMed]

10– Derkach A., Sampson J., Joseph J., Playdon M.C., Stolzenberg-Solomon R.Z. Effects of dietary sodium on metabolites: The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)-Sodium Feeding Study. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2017;106:1131–1141. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.150136. [PMC free article]

11– Mertens E., Markey O., Geleijnse J.M., Lovegrove J.A., Givens D.I. Adherence to a healthy diet in relation to cardiovascular incidence and risk markers: Evidence from the Caerphilly Prospective Study. Eur. J. Nutr. 2018;57:1245–1258. doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1408-0. [PMC free article]

12– Jones N.R.V., Forouhi N.G., Khaw K.T., Wareham N.J., Monsivais P. Accordance to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet pattern and cardiovascular disease in a British, population-based cohort. Eur. J. Epidemiol. 2018;33:235–244. doi: 10.1007/s10654-017-0354-8. [PMC free article]

13– Saglimbene V.M., Wong G., Craig J.C., Ruospo M., Palmer S.C., Campbell K., Garcia-Larsen V., Natale P., Teixeira-Pinto A., Carrero J.J., et al. The Association of Mediterranean and DASH Diets with Mortality in Adults on Hemodialysis: The DIET-HD Multinational Cohort Study. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 2018;29:1741–1751. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2018010008. [PMC free article]

14– Neelakantan N., Koh W.P., Yuan J.M., van Dam R.M. Diet-quality indexes are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular, respiratory, and all-cause mortality among Chinese adults. J. Nutr. 2018;148:1323–1332. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxy094. [PMC free article]

15– Dauchet L., Amouyel P., Hercberg S., Dallongeville J. Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: A metaanalysis of cohort studies. J. Nutr. 2006;136:2588–2593. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.10.2588. [PubMed]

16– Dauchet L., Amouyel P., Dallongeville J. Fruits, vegetables and coronary heart disease. Nat. Rev. Cardiol. 2009;6:599–608. doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2009.131. [PubMed]

17– De Moura F.F., Lewis K.D., Falk M.C. Applying the FDA definition of whole grains to the evidence for cardiovascular disease health claims. J. Nutr. 2009;139:2220S–2226S. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.112383. [PubMed]

18– Guasch-Ferré M., Liu X., Malik V.S., Sun Q., Willett W.C., Manson J.E., Rexrode K.M., Li Y., Hu F.B., Bhupathiraju S.N. Nut Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 2017;70:2519–2532. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.09.035. [PMC free article]

19– Aune D., Keum N., Giovannucci E., Fadnes L.T., Boffetta P., Greenwood D.C., Tonstad S., Vatten L.J., Riboli E., Norat T. Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all-cause and cause-specific mortality: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMC Med. 2016;14:207. doi: 10.1186/s12916-016-0730-3. [PMC free article]

20– Kristen S., Montgomery J. Soy protein. Perinat. Educ. 2003;12:42–45. [PMC free article]

21– Wongwarawipat T., Papageorgiou N., Bertsias D., Siasos G., Tousoulis D. Olive Oil-related Anti-inflammatory effects on atherosclerosis: Potential clinical implications. Endocr. Metab. Immune Disord. Drug Targets. 2018;18:51–62. doi: 10.2174/1871530317666171116103618. [PubMed]

22– Schwingshackl L., Christoph M., Hoffmann G. Effects of olive oil on markers of inflammation and endothelial function-A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2015;7:7651–7675. doi: 10.3390/nu7095356. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

23– Casas R., Estruch R., Sacanella E. The protective effects of extra virgin olive oil on immune-mediated inflammatory responses. Endocr. Metab. Immune Disord. Drug Targets. 2018;18:23–35. doi: 10.2174/1871530317666171114115632. [PubMed]

24– Moreno-Luna R., Muñoz-Hernandez R., Miranda M.L., Costa A.F., Jimenez-Jimenez L., Vallejo-Vaz A.J., Muriana F.J.G., Villar J., Stiefel P. Olive oil polyphenols decrease blood pressure and improve endothelial function in young women with mild hypertension. Am. J. Hypertens. 2012;25:1299–1304. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2012.128. [PubMed]

25– Storniolo C.E., Casillas R., Bulló M., Castañer O., Ros E., Sáez G.T., Toledo E., Estruch R., Ruiz-Gutiérrez V., Fitó M., et al. A mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts improves endothelial markers involved in blood pressure control in hypertensive women. Eur. J. Nutr. 2017;56:89–97. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-1060-5. [PubMed]

26– Murphy K.J. A Mediterranean diet lowers blood pressure and improves endothelial function: Results from the medley randomized intervention trial. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2017;105:1305–1313. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.146803. [PubMed]


Dilshad Zaman

Doctor of Pharmacy and Master in Business Administration. He loves to write articles on various topics.

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