Heart Healthy Diet: 15 Foods You Should Eat

Dt. Sauvik Chakrabarty

Medically reviewed by

Dt. Sauvik Chakrabarty

Dietitian/Nutritionist

8 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Prevent 80% of premature heart attacks via diet, exercise and avoiding tobacco
  • Eat avocados, walnuts and spinach for heart-healthy fats, fibre and minerals
  • Avoid butter, refined white flour and fatty red meat for good heart health

Conditions such as arrhythmias, heart failure, and cardiomyopathy are some of the main heart diseases that afflict Indians. Moreover, according to research, the number of Indians affected is steadily growing. As per the ICMR State-Level Disease Burden Report, the occurrence of heart diseases has gone up by 50% from 1990 to 2016. In addition, heart conditions contribute to 18% of all deaths in India. 

Excessive consumption of salt (which can lead to high blood pressure), tobacco, oily, unhealthy food, as well as uncontrolled diabetes, and high cholesterol can contribute to heart diseases in the long run. While these are controllable, certain factors aren’t, such as age, and a family history of cardiac diseases, both of which put you at risk of suffering from heart conditions. 

The good news is that you can prevent the incidence of heart conditions via your diet. Take a look at how the two are co-related, and a list of heart-healthy foods you can incorporate into your everyday meal plan. 

How does a Heart Healthy Diet help?

Diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure put you at greater risk of heart disease. Fortunately, all three conditions can be regulated via your diet. By making simple adjustments you can prevent their incidence, and in turn, lower your chances of developing a heart condition. In fact, as per the Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, 80% of premature heart attacks can be prevented simply by eating a heart-healthy healthy diet, exercising regularly, and eliminating tobacco products from one’s lifestyle.

The best part is that you don’t have to go to any extremes. Follow a few basic rules and incorporate plenty of fruits good for the heart, along with vegetables, nuts, and the right seafood and meats to make a difference in your health. 

5 Heart Healthy Foods you should add to your Diet

Apples

You can avoid the doctor by including an apple in your diet daily. Apples have a low glycemic index and are rich in fiber. Daily consumption of apples can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Apples have soluble fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol levels. Apples contain polyphenols that can lower blood pressure. Higher flavonoid intake can reduce the risk of stroke. Apples are also the best fruit for people with heart disease. As they are free of cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat, all of which cause heart problems. Daily apple consumption can aid in weight loss.

Apricots

Apricots are a good source of magnesium, vitamin A, and potassium. Vitamins C and E are also available in apricots. The antioxidants in apricots aid in preventing pre-radical damage to the heart. It is a fantastic food that guards your heart against major attacks and strokes.

Bananas

In addition to being delicious, bananas are the best fruit for heart patients. It contains a lot of potassium, a crucial intake for maintaining heart health. Potassium can lower the risk of stroke and help control blood pressure. A banana contains about 422 milligrams of potassium, which is about the amount that adults should consume each day. In addition to these beneficial nutrients for heart health, bananas also contain iron, magnesium, and vitamin C. As a result, they can lower cholesterol levels by up to 10% and are crucial for maintaining heart health.

Grapes

Grapes can enhance blood circulation and lower cholesterol levels. Grapes are a good option for people who want to keep their hearts healthy. Daily consumption of grapes can cut your risk of cardiovascular disease by more than 50%. Antioxidants in grapes reduce inflammation, one of the main factors contributing to heart disease. Additionally, the fibre in grapes lowers cholesterol levels. They can help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, which can result in cancer and other diseases. Thus, grapes are beneficial to both your heart and blood sugar levels.

Peaches

Peaches are a versatile fruit that is good for the heart. Vitamins and minerals like potassium are abundant in peaches. Antioxidants found in peaches assist in preventing cell deterioration. Peaches can lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of heart disease. Potassium helps in maintaining blood pressure and heart health. Regular peach consumption can lower your bad-LDL cholesterol levels. Additionally, it shields against some cancers and skin conditions.

Cherries

Cherries make a delicious fruit snack. They are tiny drupes with a deliciously sweet flavour. They are very delectable and advantageous for heart health. Cherries' high antioxidant content shields the heart from oxidative damage. 

Guava

Tropical fruits with an oval shape are guavas. This tropical fruit's nutrient-rich qualities make it one of the best for heart health. They are valuable for heart patients because of their high fibre, potassium, and antioxidant content.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Be it the humble spinach or super foods like kale, step one should be to fill your diet with as many green, leafy vegetables as possible. They are rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, specifically Vitamin K, which is known to promote artery health and aid in appropriate blood clotting. Studies have found that consumption of greens reduces blood pressure, and by increasing the quantity of leafy greens you consume, the incidence of heart conditions can be lowered by 16%.

Avocados

When it comes to food good for heart, don’t ignore avocados. They’re rich in heart-healthy fats that lower cholesterol and in turn lower your risk of suffering from cardiac conditions. Eating a single avocado gives your body 975mg of potassium, or 28% of your daily requirement. This is helpful as potassium contributes to keeping blood pressure problems at bay. 

Walnuts

Walnuts are amongst the top heart healthy foods that you can incorporate in your diet. They are an excellent source of plant sterols, fiber, healthy fats and omega-3s. In fact, they lower cholesterol and are likely to lower inflammation within the arteries of the heart as well.  

healthy heart foods

Fatty Fish

Certain seafoods—such as salmon, tuna or mackerel—are high in omega 3 fatty acids, and an excellent addition to a heart healthy diet if you’re not vegetarian. Long term benefits of including fatty seafood to your diet include lower cholesterol, blood pressure and lower fasting blood sugar as well. 

Berries

Berries of all kinds, such as strawberries and blueberries, are fruits good for the heart. Due to their rich antioxidant content, berries help lower the risk of heart attack, particularly in women who incorporate them into their diet regularly. They prevent oxidative stress, lower bad cholesterol and inflammation, thus making for an excellent addition. 

Oranges

Rich in Vitamin C and fiber, oranges are one of the fruits good for the heart. They are easy to add to your diet, and help lower the possibility of strokes as well. Like avocados, oranges are a good source of potassium, a mineral that goes a long way in controlling blood pressure. 

3 Foods you should Avoid for Good Heart Health

Butter

While fats are necessary in your diet, it’s important to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats. Unfortunately, butter falls in the latter category. It is high in saturated fats that are have a reputation for increasing your LDL or bad cholesterol, which in turn increases your susceptibility for heart conditions. While a small amount every once in a while won’t do much harm, most people consume butter on a daily basis, making this one of the foods to avoid with heart disease. Instead, it’s best to opt for healthier fats such as olive oil or avocado oil. 

Red meat

Red meats such as lamb/mutton are high in saturated fat, just like butter is. Therefore, a diet that is rich in red meat is best avoided, because it predisposes you to high cholesterol, and over time puts you at risk of heart diseases. Switch to fish such as tuna or salmon and lean meats such as chicken breast. If you must eat red meat, pick cuts that are lean. 

White flour

When it comes to the worst food for heart patient, foods made from white flour, such as bread and pasta, are at the top of the list. They lack vitamins, minerals and fiber, and are high in sugar. Not only does this contribute to high blood sugar levels, your body is likely to store the sugar as belly fat, which as per studies contributes to heart disease. Instead of refined flour goods, look at products made from oats, whole wheat or other whole grains. 

It’s clear that understanding the nutrition profile of the foods that you consume on an everyday basis can help you prevent heart conditions. However, as factors such as unmitigated stress can also result in heart diseases, it is a good idea to get a check-up every year. Use Bajaj Finserv Health to book a doctor's appointment. Get access to special deals and offers through partner healthcare facilities, so you can get quality healthcare economically.

FAQ

Which food is best for the heart?

The vital nutrients plentiful in raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are crucial for maintaining heart health. In addition to being high in antioxidants like anthocyanins, berries reduce inflammation and protect against oxidative stress, as both are factors in the development of heart disease.

What foods affect the heart?

More salt, sugar, saturated fat, and refined carbohydrate intake over a while increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, you should avoid regularly consuming these if you have heart concerns.

Is Apple good for the heart?

Apples have a high fibre content and a low glycemic index. Daily consumption of apples can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Are bananas ok for the heart?

There are 375 milligrams of potassium in one medium banana. That is roughly 11% of a man's and a woman's daily recommended potassium intake, respectively. A mineral called potassium is essential for maintaining heart health, particularly in terms of controlling blood pressure.

Which fruit is good for heart blockage?

The best fruits for heart blockage are apples and bananas. They reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. In addition, they have antioxidants that may lessen the risk of blood clots developing and leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Published on 25 May 2021Last updated on 27 Mar 2023
  1. https://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/report-world-heart-day-2020-5-types-of-heart-diseases-you-should-be-aware-of-2846083
  2. https://www.aimsindia.com/blog/why-heart-diseases-are-increasing-in-india-youth/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4973479/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21403995/

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dt. Sauvik Chakrabarty

Medically reviewed by

Dt. Sauvik Chakrabarty

, PGPHHM: Post Graduate Program in Healthcare Management , B.Sc.- Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics 1 , Masters in Dietetics and Food Service Management 2 , Certificate in Food and Nutrition 2 , Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics 2

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