Got heart disease? A healthy diet can help, say new guidelines from the American Heart Association and other expert groups. Their key diet advice:

  • Emphasize vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains, and lean protein.
  • Cut saturated fat to less than 6 percent of calories by replacing it with unsaturated fat and fiber-rich carbs from whole grains, beans, and vegetables.
  • Cut sodium to 2,300 milligrams a day (ideally 1,500 mg a day) and minimize bacon, sausage, and other processed meats.
  • Limit refined carbs (in white breads, rice, cereals, tortillas, etc.) and sugary drinks (like sodas, energy drinks, and fruit drinks). 
  • If you drink, limit alcohol to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.

Taking fish oil, niacin, calcium, or vitamins C, D, or E or beta-carotene won’t protect your heart, say the guidelines. 

What to do

See above. The same advice can also help prevent heart disease.

vegetables laid in a heart shape on wood background

From Nutrition Action

10 steps to a heart-healthy diet

Not sure which foods protect (or harm) the blood vessels that feed your heart and brain? Here’s a rundown of the American Heart Association’s 10 recommendations to cut the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and maybe type 2 diabetes, memory loss, kidney disease, and more.

Read more