heart shaped bowl with heart healthy foods such as nuts, grains and garlic

Heart Healthy Foods to Add to Your Diet

September 05, 2019

When it comes to a healthy heart, a healthy diet is key. What we eat can have a big impact on our body. So it's vital to make some positive changes to ensure your heart stays healthy. We take a look at some of the best heart healthy foods to add to your diet as well as taking an in-depth look at the Mediterranean diet - hailed as one of the healthiest diets around. 

Heart Healthy Foods to Add to Your Diet

Start introducing heart healthy foods into your diet by focusing on increasing Omega 3. It has been found to improve numerous heart disease risk factors. It may even reduce triglycerides and improve blood circulation, as well as being shown to increase HDL 'good' cholesterol, thereby helping to reduce cholesterol levels as HDL removes bad cholesterol from the body. Oily fish contains Omega 3, as does flax seed, chia seed, and hemp seeds.

What Should Be Increased?

  • With each meal of the day, try your best to incorporate vegetables – this means breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Green leaves like spinach and rocket are ideal, as are tomatoes and peppers.
  • When you’re craving something sweet, try to opt for fruit instead. Raspberries are super, as they contain antioxidants and are full of fibre which could help lower LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  • Switch to wholegrains where possible. They're higher in fibre which can help reduce 'bad' cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease.
  • Enjoy those good fats! Good fats are so important, and you can enjoy avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, fish oil, olives and even eggs in moderation.
  • Try to always stay hydrated – water is the ideal drink, and you can change it up by introducing sliced lemons, limes, cucumber, mint… the list goes on!

What Should Be Reduced?

The main things to reduce are dairy, and red meat. These can of course still be enjoyed in moderation, especially in the correct form. Greek yoghurt and parmesan cheese can be enjoyed with appropriate portion control, as can meat in small servings. Ideally, meat would be added to a vegetable rich meal, such as stir-fries or salads.

Supplements that May Be Useful

If you are struggling to get an adequate amount of Omega 3, there are several high quality supplements available. You can also use Zerochol supplements to support you while you improve your diet over time. Zerochol contains plant sterols found naturally in the likes of fruit, veg, nuts, seeds and grains and can help lower your cholesterol.

The Mediterranean Diet & Heart Health

If you're looking to adopt a heart-healthy diet (or just a healthy diet in general), the Mediterranean diet is the way to go. Research has proven it's effective at reducing cardiovascular disease so it's well worth considering if you're looking to make some positive changes when it comes to heart healthy foods. It focuses on good fats, fruit and veg aplenty, wholegrain options and fish and poultry as opposed to red meat and processed foods. Here's everything you need to know...

 What Is The Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a heart-protective diet that is encouraged in the protection against heart disease and stroke. The diet focuses on more good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), less bad fats (saturated and trans fats) and overall more fresh than processed food items.

The diet works by having a positive effect on different heart disease risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and glucose levels. The Mediterranean diet has long been reported to be the best diet for preventing heart disease and preserving good health.

What heart healthy foods should I be eating?

• Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes
• Choosing more wholegrain bread, brown rice, wholegrain pasta, and cereals
• Including some unsalted nuts or seeds (max one handful per day)
• Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and rapeseed oil
• Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour foods
• Replacing red meat with fish and poultry
• Eating fish at least twice a week, one of which should be oily (mackerel, trout, herring, sardines and salmon)
• Drinking alcohol in moderation
• Getting plenty of exercise

Looking to get your heart in to shape? Here are some of the best exercises for a healthy heart!

Please note, this blog is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice.

It’s always best to consult your doctor before taking any new supplements, treatments or remedies if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on medication.

Checked and updated: 8 September 2021