Those trying to prevent heart disease or manage blood pressure, weight and cholesterol can benefit from following a heart-healthy diet, according to the American Heart Association. Many heart-healthy diets can be adjusted to suit the individual, including someone who is suffering from other chronic disease such as diabetes.
A healthy diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and it reduces or eliminates saturated fat and sugar, according to the AHA. It's important not to consume more calories than are burned during the course of the day, and at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day is recommended to support healthy eating habits.
Focusing on nutrient-rich foods is essential to healthy eating, explains the AHA. It is important to read nutrition labels and choose foods that are lower in calories and sodium. Foods containing trans fats or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils should be eliminated. Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon or trout, can help lower the risk of coronary artery disease. Additionally, one should trim excess fat from meats and remove poultry skin before cooking. Sodium intake shouldn't exceed 2,400 milligrams per day, alcohol must be consumed in moderation, and portion sizes should be closely monitored.