Nutrition for Heart Disease Patients

  • Eat a steady diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean protein.
  • Limit fats in your diet by monitoring portions sizes use one teaspoon of tub-style margarines, oil or mayonnaise at each meal. Look for spreads that contain plant sterols, which are even better for lowering unhealthy cholesterol. 
  • Unsaturated oils are healthiest. Look for olive, canola, corn, safflower or soybean oil. 
  • Choose lean meats, fish and poultry without skin, or venison and limit intake to 6 ounces daily. A 3-ounce portion is equal to a deck of cards or the size of your fist. Think plant-based proteins too such as beans, legumes or soy. 
  • Avoid fried foods.
  • Limit egg yolk consumption to 2-4 yolks/week. You can eat the whites or try egg substitute instead. 
  • Include 1-2 servings of 4 ounces of baked or broiled fish each week. Salmon, tuna and trout are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids can help lower blood triglycerides, total cholesterol and reduce plaque deposits in arteries. Not a fan of fish? Try including flaxseed oil, ground flaxseed or walnuts in foods such as hot cereals or salads. 
  • Increase fiber foods such as whole grain breads, bran cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables. This can help decrease unhealthy LDL cholesterol.  
  • Limit refined carbohydrate foods. This includes foods prepared with white flour, sugary foods and beverage intake. 
  • Fiber helps lower cholesterol, blood sugar and helps with normal bowel regulation. Aim for 25 to 30 grams per day.
  • Remember to gradually increase fiber in your diet and include six to eight glasses of water or fluids daily.
  • Avoid salt at the table.
  • Try using herbs such as garlic, seasoning powders and salt-free seasoning mixes instead of salt to flavor food.
  • Read labels. The American Heart Association established the certified heart check label mark on foods to show the criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol as part of a heart healthy diet.

Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for more information on nutrition for heart disease. 

Contact your doctor before making any diet changes as related to your medical condition(s).

To make an appointment for nutrition counseling:

Outpatient diet counseling — 484-526-1000
Diabetes Center — 484-526-3025