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what foods are known to help fight heart problems?

By March 19, 2010 - 8:39pm
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Ms. Kittens,

The National Institutes of Health gives these guidelines for a heart-healthy diet:

* Just 8-10% of the day's total calories from saturated fat.
* 30 percent or less of the day’s total calories from fat.
* Less than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol a day.
* Limit sodium intake to 2400 milligrams a day.
* Just enough calories to achieve or maintain a healthy weight and reduce your blood cholesterol level. (Ask your doctor or registered dietitian what is a reasonable calorie level for you.)

Here's that page, along with a calorie/activity counter:


And here is a list of foods from the American Heart Association that are recommended for people with heart failure because they are low in salt, saturated fat and cholesterol:

Fruits: Fresh, canned or frozen

Vegetables: Fresh or frozen (avoid sauce or flavor pouches, which add salt and fat)
Canned is OK if unsalted or rinsed

Meats, poultry, fish: Fresh or frozen fish (not breaded)
Canned tuna and salmon (unsalted or rinsed)
Chicken or turkey, both with the skin removed
Lean cuts of beef, veal, pork or lamb (trim away all fat)

Meat substitutes: Dried beans, peas, lentils (not canned)
Tofu (soybean curd)
Nuts or seeds: (unsalted, dry-roasted), such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds and walnuts (Eat nuts in small amounts because they're high in fat and calories.)
Unsalted peanut butter

Drinks: (follow your healthcare team's limits on fluid intake)
Fruit juices, fresh, frozen or canned
Canned low-sodium or no-salt-added tomato and vegetable juice
Breakfast drink, powder or liquid (limit to 1 cup/day)
Lemonade (frozen concentrate or fresh)
Tea and coffee in moderation
Soy protein powder, soy milk

Dairy choices: (Choose 2–3 servings of these low-fat dairy products per day)
Liquid or dry milk (1 percent, ½ percent, fat-free or nonfat)
Cottage cheese, dry curd (low sodium)
Low-fat or part-skim cheeses, such as ricotta and mozzarella
Neufchatel cheese

Fats, oils: (Use any of these in small amounts)
Unsaturated vegetable oils like canola, olive, corn, cottonseed, peanut, safflower, soybean and sunflower
Low-sodium, low-fat salad dressing and mayonnaise
Unsalted margarine with liquid vegetable oil as first ingredient

Breads, cereals, grains, starches:
Rice (enriched white or brown)
Starchy vegetables, such as corn, potatoes, green peas, etc. (not canned unless salt-free)
Loaf bread and yeast rolls
Homemade breads (with regular flour, not self-rising)
Melba toast
Matzo crackers
Pita bread
Taco shell, corn tortilla
Cooked cereals, such as corn grits, farina (regular), oatmeal, oat bran, cream of rice, cream of wheat (avoid instant cereals)
Puffed rice or wheat, shredded wheat (or any cereal with 100–150 mg of sodium (limit to 1 cup/day)
Wheat germ (in small amounts)
Unsalted, no-fat popcorn

Cooking ingredients, seasonings:
Corn starch, tapioca
Cornmeal (not self-rising because of high salt content)
Fresh or dried herbs, salt-free herb seasonings
Flour — regular white or whole-wheat (not self-rising)
Fresh fruits and vegetables, such as lemons, limes, onions, celery, etc.
Fresh garlic or ginger
Louisiana-type hot sauce (limit to 1 teaspoon/day)
Low-sodium baking powder
Onion or garlic powder (avoid garlic salt)
Tomato paste, unsalted tomatoes, unsalted tomato sauce
Water chestnuts
Butter substitute (limit to 1/2 teaspoon/day)

Carob powder, cocoa powder
Flavored gelatins
Frozen juice bars, fruit ice, sorbet, sherbet
Sugar, honey, molasses, syrup (cane or maple)
Jelly, jam, preserves, apple butter
Graham and animal crackers, fig bars, ginger snaps

If you click on this page and scroll to the bottom, you can click on a PDF of the DASH eating plan (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension):


Does this information help? What are you dealing with specifically in terms of a heart problem?

March 22, 2010 - 9:37am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

Good reminder! No salt is so hard. I don't use much. Thank you for the article.

July 12, 2017 - 6:59pm
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