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Learn how to make healthier meals , and tips on eating less salt and fat in foods and drinking alcohol. Learn how to make healthier meals and use the nutrition action plan to improve your healthy-eating habits. Sign up and we'll send you information you can use to help you recover, including advice on heart attack treatment, lifestyle changes and recovery planning.

Discover our healthy eating and drinking ideas. Find out how to use food labels to make healthier choices. Eating too much unhealthy saturated and trans fats can increase high cholesterol. Choosing foods with healthier fats can help you lower your cholesterol and avoid more heart problems. Read more about more about healthy fats. Learn more about saturated and trans fats. Salt is hidden in lots of food. The amount of salt you eat should be less than 4 g per day. Salt holds fluid in your body.

If you eat too much salt, the extra water stored in your body raises your blood pressure. Salt is made up of sodium and chloride. Learn more about cutting down on salt and salt alternatives. Too much drinking increases your risk of high blood pressure. It also increases your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and many other problems.

Meals and food

Use the alcohol action plan to set goals for drinking less alcohol. Learn more about alcohol and heart health. Eating healthy foods will help you recover and reduce your risk of more heart problems. Healthy eating goals Eat vegetables, whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds every day.

Choose healthier fats and oils. Aim for two to three serves of fish and seafood per week. Limit fried or baked foods, especially chips, biscuits, cakes and other baked cereal products. Avoid adding salt to food. What to eat after a heart attack Eat plenty of vegetables aim for five serves every day and fresh fruit aim for two serves every day. Choose wholegrain types of breads, cereal, pasta, rice and noodles.

Select lean meat meat trimmed of fat and poultry without skin. Limit processed meats, including sausages, and deli meats, such as salami. Have two to three serves g of fish and seafood every week fresh, frozen or canned. Include legumes in at least two meals a week e. Eat up to six eggs every week. Limit take-away foods e. Limit salty, fatty and sugary snack foods e. Anthocyanins give plants their red and blue colors. Several studies have now shown that dark chocolate may benefit your heart, including one in that found that daily chocolate consumption could reduce nonfatal heart attacks and stroke in people at high risk for these problems.

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids called polyphenols, which may help blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation. Unfortunately, milk chocolate and most candy bars don't make the grade when it comes to protecting your heart. Citrus fruits are also high in vitamin C, which has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease.

Beware of citrus juices that contain added sugar. And be aware that grapefruit products may interfere with the action of the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. Soy products, including tofu and soy milk, are a good way to add protein to your diet without unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Soy products contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats good for your health , fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

What's more, soy may reduce blood pressure in people who eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates.

Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease - Mayo Clinic

And compared with milk or other proteins, soy protein can actually decrease LDL or "bad" cholesterol. There's no reason to shun potatoes because they're white and look like a "bad" starch. As long as they're not deep fried, potatoes can be good for your heart. They're rich in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. And they're high in fiber, which can lower the risk for heart disease. Tomato consumption in the U. Like potatoes, tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium. Plus, they're a good source of the antioxidant lycopene.

Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help get rid of "bad" cholesterol, keep blood vessels open, and lower heart attack risk. And because they're low in calories and low in sugar, they don't detract from an already-healthy diet. Because they come from plants, legumes such as beans, lentils, and peas are an excellent source of protein without a lot of unhealthy fat.

And legumes may help control blood sugar in people with diabetes. Lowering blood sugar levels is key in helping people avoid diabetes complications , one of which is heart disease. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Olives themselves—both green and black—are another source of "good" fat, says Graf.

And they "add a lot of flavor to salads," she notes. Red wine, or small amounts of any type of alcohol, are thought to lower heart disease risk. Higher amounts, more than a drink or two a day, can actually increase risk. While some say a polyphenol found in red wine, resveratrol, gives that beverage an added benefit, research suggests that any type of alcohol in moderation works. As with coffee, though, none of these properties are a reason to start drinking alcohol, says Graf.

You can also get resveratrol from non-alcohol sources , like natural peanut butter and grapes. Long a favorite in Asia, green tea has grown more popular in the West and may bring with it significant health benefits. The findings echo a previous study that found lower rates of death, including death from heart disease, among avid drinkers of green tea.

Antioxidants known as catechins may be responsible for the effect. When it comes to your health, you really can't go wrong with vegetables.

But green vegetables may give an extra boost to your heart. These are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and free your body of potentially harmful compounds. They're also high in fiber and contain tons of vitamins and minerals. Kale also has some omega-3 fatty acids.

Understanding your heart

Another widely consumed beverage—coffee—may also promote heart health. It's not clear where the benefit comes from and the news isn't necessarily a reason to pick up the habit. Flax seeds as well as the ultra-chic among the health conscious chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, says Graf. That's one reason they're good for your heart.

Another reason is their high fiber content. Plus, there are a million ways to enjoy them. Try them ground up with other heart-healthy foods, such as dried blueberries, cranberries, or oatmeal or even blended with soy milk and fruit to create a smoothie.