• April 8, 2020
  • New York
heart healthy diet plans

Heart Healthy Diet Plans

There are many heart-healthy diets that are recommended for people who have heart disease or high blood pressure. One diet called Therapeutic Lifestyle Change, or TLC, may be recommended to you by your health care provider if you have high blood cholesterol or known heart disease. This diet emphasizes reduced saturated fat and cholesterol intake with consumption of plant stanols/sterols and increased soluble fiber. This diet was designed to lower LDL-cholesterol levels in the body. Consumption of plant stanols/sterols in the amount of 2 to 3 grams per day has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol by 6 to 15 percent. Further, fiber is important to consider, particularly soluble fiber. Research has shown that an increase in soluble fiber of 5 to 10 grams per day is associated with a 5 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol. Finally, total calorie (energy) intake should be adjusted to maintain a healthy body weight, and physical activity should be included to expend at least 200 kilocalories per day. Also Read: Controllable and Uncontrollable Risk Factors For Heart Disease

Diet Plans For High Blood Pressure

If you have elevated blood pressure, your health care provider may talk to you about the DASH diet or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet. This diet evolved from several research studies conducted in the 1990s that showed the effect of this diet on blood pressure. These dietary trials emphasized a low-sodium diet with consumption of foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. A 2,000-calorie DASH diet provides 4,700 milligrams of potassium, 1,240 milligrams of calcium, 500 milligrams of magnesium, 90 grams of protein, 30 grams of fiber, and 2,400 milligrams of sodium. Potassium, in particular, has been shown to have blood pressure–lowering
properties. Food sources of potassium include milk, meat, fish, fruits (e.g., bananas, oranges, and other citrus fruit), and vegetables (e.g., potatoes, broccoli, carrots).
Also Read: USDA Dietary Guidelines 2019


Information on the DASH diet, including sample menus, can be found on the AHA website or the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (of the National Institutes of Health) website (go to www.nhlbi.nih.gov and enter DASH into the search window). This site includes specific examples of healthful eating habits. In general, the recommendation is to eat several servings of fruit, several servings of vegetables, several servings of grains (with an emphasis on whole grains), and fat-free or low-fat milk products daily. You should limit fat, oils, and sweets and incorporate lean meats, poultry, and fish into your diet. The overall recommendation for hypertensive adults is to adopt the DASH eating plan; the number of servings for each of the food group categories depends on your overall caloric intake. DASH is organized by servings for
most food groups. The following are examples of DASH servings:

  • Grains—1 ounce or equivalent; 1 slice bread
  • Fruits—1/2 cup cut-up fruit or equivalent; 1 medium fruit
  • Vegetables—1/2 cup cooked vegetables or equivalent; 1 cup raw leafy vegetables
  • Meats, poultry, and fish—1 ounce cooked meats, poultry, or fish or one egg
  • Nuts, seeds, and legumes—2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1/3 cup or 1 1/2 ounces of nuts, 1/2 cup cooked beans, or 1 cup bean soup
  • Fats and oils—1 teaspoon soft margarine or vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon regular salad dressing or 2 tablespoons low-fat dressing
  • Sugars—1 tablespoon jam or jelly, 1/2 cup regular gelatin, or 1 cup regular lemonade

Other Consideration

There are a few additional considerations related to diet if you are on medication. For instance, individuals who are on warfarin (i.e., Coumadin) should keep their vitamin K intake consistent to maintain stable levels of the drug in their body. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, mustard greens, and collards, as well as broccoli and asparagus. People taking diuretics may experience increased frequency of urination and as result may excrete more minerals, such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, in their urine. Consult with your health care provider if you have any concerns before
making any changes to your diet.

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