A heart-healthy diet plan includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and sources of lean protein, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients should monitor sodium, saturated fat and trans fat intake and overall meal portions.
Vegetables and fruits are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber, states Mayo Clinic. Patients can choose from fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Canned vegetables should be low-sodium, and canned fruit should be packed in juice or water as opposed to heavy syrup. Avoid vegetables that are fried or served with cream sauces.
Whole grains, such as whole-wheat breads, high-fiber cereals, rice, barley and oatmeal, are better sources of fiber and nutrients than refined grains, explains Mayo Clinic. Examples of refined grains include white bread, corn bread, waffles, egg noodles and quick breads. Additionally, processed foods such as doughnuts, cakes, pies, biscuits and muffins are not recommended for a heart-healthy diet.
Patients should include healthy fats in their diet, such as olive oil, vegetable oil, nuts, seeds and avocados, notes Mayo Clinic. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats may help lower total cholesterol; however, fats of any kind are high in calories and should be consumed in moderation. Heart patients should eliminate butter, lard and hydrogenated shortening or margarine; cocoa butter; and coconut, cottonseed and palm-kernel oils.