Health | Top 8 Diet Tips for A Better and Stronger Heart

by Alan Gregor
This image shows a man drinking a healthy fruit smoothie

Having a healthy and strong heart is essential for living a long and fulfilling life.

Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to properly care for their hearts, leading to an increased risk of heart failure and other serious health issues.

According to WHO, heart disease kills more than any other disease in the world. Having a heart condition can also have a psychological effect on our mood and quality of life.

Although exercise can be very important for maintaining a healthy and strong heart, your diet can also have an impact. In fact, dietary choices can help reduce heart disease risk and stroke risk.

To help protect your heart from damage, it’s important to make sure you have the right diet plan in place.

Here are our Top 8 diet tips that will help you strengthen your heart and reduce the risk of heart failure symptoms and treatment down the road.

No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.

Moses Maimonides

A healthy outside starts from the inside.

Robert Urich

Tip #1. Control Your Portion Size

Eating too much of any food can be detrimental to your health – not just those high in fat or sugar – so it’s important to keep track of portion sizes when eating meals and snacks throughout the day.

Eat smaller portions more often throughout the day instead of two or three large meals, as this will help regulate your blood sugar levels better as well as reduce hunger cravings later on in the day.

Following some simple portion control tips can help you shape your diet as well as your heart and waistline:

This image shows a man eating a healthy meal
  1. Use a smaller plate. A standard-sized portion looks small on a larger plate, making you feel dissatisfied.
  2. Don’t double your carbs. If you already have some starchy carbs in your meal, do you also need bread, naan, or chapatis?
  3. Give measuring cups a go. Do you find it difficult to estimate the right amount to eat? Try measuring cups.
  4. Be selective with your dessert. End your meal with fruit instead of chocolate cake.
  5. Don’t pick at leftovers. If you find it happening regularly, then make a habit of cooking less or plan to use leftovers in another meal.
  6. 20-minute rule. Do you think you haven’t had enough yet? Wait about 20 minutes before reaching for a second serving.
  7. Check food labels. Make sure you know which serving the nutritional information on the front of the pack refers to.
  8. Ask for less. When eating out, beware of oversized portions.

Take care of your body. it’s the only place you have to live in.

Jim Rohn

Tip # 2. Limit Unhealthy Fats

The key to a healthy and strong heart is limiting unhealthy fats.

Unhealthy fats are trans and saturated fats, which are found in processed foods, deep-fried foods, red meat, full-fat dairy products, store-bought baked goods, and butter.

These fats increase your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and can increase your risk of heart disease.

In contrast, healthy fats are unsaturated and can help improve your heart’s health. These include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (also known as Omega 3 fatty acids).

Healthy fats can be found in foods like avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fish.

Limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step in lowering your blood cholesterol and reducing your risk of coronary artery disease.

High blood cholesterol can lead to a build-up of plaque in the blood vessels and arteries, known as atherosclerosis, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

The road to health is paved with good intestines!

Sherry A. Rogers

The American Heart Association recommends aiming for an eating pattern that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat.

For example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of those should come from saturated fat. That’s about 13 grams of saturated fat per day.

*Note: The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting saturated fat to less than 10% of total daily calories.

There are simple and effective ways to reduce saturated and trans fats:

  • Trim fat off meat or choose lean meats with less than 10% fat.
  • Use less butter, margarine, and shortening when cooking and serving.
  • Whenever possible, use low-fat substitutes for a heart-healthy diet. For example, top a baked potato with low-sodium salsa or low-fat yogurt instead of butter, or use a sliced whole fruit or a low-sugar fruit spread on toast instead of margarine.
This image shows a man preparing a healthy meal

Check the food labels on cookies, cakes, icing, crackers, and chips.

Not only do these foods have little nutritional value, some even those labeled as reduced fat may contain trans fats. Trans fats can no longer be added to foods, but older products may still contain them.

Trans fats may be listed as partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient label.

What we eat today creates the blueprints for our health later in life.

Jessica Marie Baumgartner

Here is a recommended list of fats to use and those to avoid:

Fats to use

  • Olive oil such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Avocados
  • Canola oil
  • Margarine, trans-fat-free
  • Vegetable and nut oils
  • Cholesterol-lowering margarine, such as Promise Activ, Smart Balance, or Benecol

Fats to limit

  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Bacon fat
  • Gravy
  • Cream sauce
  • Nondairy creamers
  • Hydrogenated margarine and shortening
  • Cocoa butter, found in chocolate
  • Coconut, palm, cottonseed, and palm kernel oils

When using fats, choose monounsaturated fats like olive oil or canola oil.

Polyunsaturated fats found in certain fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds are also good heart-healthy choices.

When used in place of saturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help lower your total blood cholesterol levels.

But moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.

An easy way to add healthy fat (and fiber) to your diet is to use ground flaxseed. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Studies have shown that flaxseed lowers unhealthy cholesterol levels in some people.

You can grind the flaxseeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and stir a teaspoon into yogurt, applesauce, or hot granola.

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.

Winston Churchill

Tip # 3. Select Whole Grains Over Refined Ones

Whole grains are good sources of dietary fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health.

You can increase the number of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet simply by replacing refined grains or be adventurous and try a new whole grain like whole wheat farro, quinoa, or barley.

Not only will this provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals, but it also helps increase satiety levels as well as reduce inflammation in your body.

This image shows a man holding a sourdough bread

Here is a recommended guideline on which Grain products to choose and which to avoid or limit:

It shouldn’t take a life-changing event for you to change your life..

Shaun Hick

Grain products to use

  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Whole grains such as brown rice, barley, and buckwheat (kasha)
  • Whole-grain bread, preferably 100% whole-wheat bread or 100% whole-grain bread
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • High-fiber cereal with 5 g or more fiber in a serving
  • Oatmeal (steel-cut or regular)

Grain products to avoid or limit

  • White, refined flour
  • Cakes
  • Pies
  • Cornbread
  • Doughnuts
  • Egg noodles
  • White bread
  • Muffins
  • Buttered popcorn
  • Frozen waffles
  • Biscuits
  • Quick bread
  • High-fat snack crackers

He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything..

Thomas Carlyle

Tip # 4. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients – all essential nutrients for maintaining cardiovascular health!

Aim for at least five servings per day by adding them into salads or smoothies; they’re also great cooked into main dishes like stir-fries or roasted up in the oven.

This image shows a man buying vegetables at a grocery store

Here is a recommended guideline on which fruits and vegetables to choose and to limit:

Fruits and vegetables to use

  • Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits
  • Canned fruit packed in juice or water
  • Low-sodium canned vegetables

Fruits and vegetables to limit

  • Coconut
  • Canned fruit packed in heavy syrup
  • Fried or breaded vegetables
  • Vegetables with creamy sauces
  • Frozen fruit with sugar added

It is health which is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver..

Mahatma Gandhi

Tip # 5. Choose Low-Fat Protein Sources

Protein is important for building muscle mass and helping keep your energy levels up throughout the day – but it can also be high in fat.

Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs are among the best sources of protein.

Choose lower-fat options, such as skinless chicken breasts instead of fried chicken patties and skim milk instead of whole milk.

The earlier you invest in health, the more dividends it pays later.

Tarun Sharma

Fish is a good alternative to high-fat meat. Certain types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides.

The highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids can be found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring.

Other sources include flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, and canola oil.

Legumes, beans, peas, and lentils are also good low-fat sources of protein and contain no cholesterol, making them good meat substitutes.

Substituting plant-based protein for animal protein, such as a soy or bean burger for a hamburger, reduces fat and cholesterol intake and increases dietary fiber intake.

This image shows a man holding a plate with two cooked fish fillets

Here is a recommended guideline on which Proteins to use and which to avoid or limit:

Proteins to use

  • Low-fat dairy products, such as skim or low-fat (1%) milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Skinless poultry
  • Eggs
  • Soybeans and soy products, such as soy burgers and tofu
  • Lean ground meats
  • Fatty fish, cold-water fish, such as salmon
  • Plant-based foods like legumes

Proteins to avoid or limit

  • Full-fat milk and other dairy products
  • Fried or breaded meats
  • Organ meats, such as liver
  • Red and processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs and sausages, pepperoni, beef jerky
  • Fatty and marbled meats
  • Spareribs

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

Mae West

Tip # 6. Reduce Your Salt Intake

High consumption of salt may increase the chance of high blood pressure, an important cause of cardiovascular diseases in humans.

The American Heart Association advises adults not to exceed one teaspoon of salt daily.

It sounds tiny, but there are actually plenty of ways you can reduce sodium consumption easily and effectively.

Reducing canned or processed foods. Most salt in your diet is extracted from canned or processed foods — soup or freezer-prepared meals — and poultry can sometimes contain salt in the processing process.

Eating fresh foods or preparing your own meals can significantly reduce your sodium intake.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes low-sodium and unprocessed whole foods; so instead of frying fish, it should be grilled in the oven, and instead of boosting flavor with sodium and high-fat sauces, the diet focuses on herbs and spices instead.

This image shows a man about to prepare food

Low-salt items to use

  • Canned soups or prepared meals with no added salt or reduced salt
  • Herbs and spices
  • Salt-free seasoning blends
  • Reduced-salt versions of condiments, such as reduced-salt soy sauce and reduced-salt ketchup

High-salt items to avoid or limit

  • Table salt
  • Restaurant meals
  • Tomato juice
  • Condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and soy sauce
  • Canned soups and prepared foods, such as frozen dinners

Stop and reflect on what your diet is doing for you.

Alice McCall

Tip # 7. Plan Ahead By Creating daily menus

To ensure you’re eating healthy every day and avoiding unhealthy snacking habits, prepare a healthy eating plan ahead of time so that you know what to buy at the store each week!

This will also make lunch-packing much easier each morning, so you don’t have to worry about scrambling for something last minute.

This image shows a man staring at his phone

Create menus of the day using the six strategies listed above.

When choosing foods for each meal and snack, emphasize vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Choose lean sources of protein and healthy fats, and limit salty foods. Watch your portion sizes and add variety to your menu choices. 

For example, if you had grilled salmon one night, try a black bean burger the next night.

This will ensure that you are getting all the nutrients that the body needs.

Variety also makes meals and snacks more interesting.

If you concentrate on small, manageable steps you can cross unimaginable distances.

Shaun Hick

Tip # 8. Allow Yourself an Occasional Treat

No one’s perfect, and it’s okay to indulge in a treat or two every once in a while – just make sure it’s in moderation!

Don’t let yourself feel guilty when you do indulge; the occasional treat won’t hurt your heart health as long as it’s not done too often.

This image shows a man sitting on a wall

Also, alcohol is a common component in many people’s diets, but it may not be the best choice for heart health.

Drinking alcohol has been linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or fewer in a day for men and 1 drink or fewer in a day for women when alcohol is consumed.

Remember to always drink responsibly and never mix alcohol with any medication without consulting your doctor first.

A fit, healthy body — that is the best fashion statement..

Jess C. Scott

Closing Thoughts – Rekindle Home Cooking

Ultimately, the key to a heart-healthy diet is making sure that you’re eating nutritious and balanced meals.

Rekindling your love for home cooking can be one of the best ways to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrient-rich foods needed for a strong and healthy heart.

With these eight tips in mind, it should now be easier than ever to make changes toward healthier lifestyle choices.

From controlling portion sizes and reducing salt consumption to choosing lean proteins and planning ahead with daily menus – there’s no better time than right now to start taking control of your health through food!

Be sure to also keep an eye out for other symptoms of heart failure such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, lowering blood pressure, and palpitations.

If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek out medical advice or treatment.

With the right combination of diet and healthy lifestyle changes, you can keep your heart healthy and strong for years to come. So go on, get creative in the kitchen today!

If you are interested, you can check out our step-by-step guide on how to perform the Sissy SquatBulgarian Split SquatHack SquatShort Head Bicep ExercisesLong Head ExercisesTop Push-Up Exercises For A Bigger Chest, or the 7+1 Proven Health Benefits Of Scent Leaves.

Enjoyed your read? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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