The purpose of a cardiac diet is to treat or prevent heart disease and blood vessel problems, known as cardiovascular diseases. The risk of coronary issues rises with increased blood fat levels, so cardiac diets aim to limit unhealthy fats, increase healthy fats and lower cholesterol levels, explains Baylor Scott & White Health.
The cardiac diet's basic guidelines include adjusting daily caloric intake in order to reach the practitioner's recommended body weight and to limit total fat intake to less than 30 percent of total calories, but dieters should limit saturated fat to less than 7 percent of their daily caloric intake. Dieters should avoid all food with trans fat, increase their intake of dietary fiber to between 20 and 30 grams, eat foods that are fortified with plant sterols or stanols, and eat foods with omega-3 fats. They should also limit processed meats to two servings per week, sodium to only 1500 milligrams per day and sugar to five servings per week, according to Baylor Scott & White Health.
The diet allows for basic breads, but participants should avoid items such as butter rolls, sweet rolls and doughnuts. Vegetables are highly recommended unless they are fried, served with cream or served with butter. It allows for protein from meat and seafood, but practitioners should avoid heavily marbled and fatty meats, as Baylor Scott & White Health details.