A Heart Healthy Diet


Following a healthy diet could help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Healthy eating is about getting the balance right. This doesn't have to mean cutting out all of what your parent enjoys, but it does mean eating foods in proportions that will improve their health over the long-term.

Fruits and Vegetables

It has been estimated that eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables each day could reduce the risk of death from chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer by up to 20%. To receive maximum benefit from the wonderful nutrients contained in fruits and vegetables, choose from a variety of different produce each day, rather than sticking with the same options.

Starchy Carbohydrates

Eating whole grains is thought to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and can also help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Around one third of our meals should be based on carbohydrate, with roughly one half of these grains being whole. Opt for wholegrain bread, wholemeal pasta, and wholegrain rice wherever possible.

Oily fish

Regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, and to improve our chances of survival following a heart attack. The omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish are thought to help the heart beat more regularly, reduce triglyceride levels, and prevent blood clots from forming in the coronary arteries. Aim to have two portions of fish per week (a portion is about 3.5 oz). One portion should be white fish, and one portion should be oily fish. Examples of oily fish include trout, salmon, herring, mackerel, or fresh tuna.

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Our bodies do require some fat for normal functioning, however most people eat far more than what is required. Reducing the total amount of saturated fat we eat can help to reduce our blood cholesterol levels.

Try to include lean meat, fish and poultry, along with low or reduced fat dairy products, and moderate amounts of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated margarine spreads and oils in your diet.


If you have high blood pressure, it is very wise to reduce your salt intake. Recommendations suggest aiming for a salt intake of no more than 6g per day, (2400 mg). This is about one level teaspoon of salt and includes both the salt we add in cooking and at the table, and the also sodium already present in the foods we eat.

Re-Published with permission by MyHeartCentral.com

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