Comparing Heart-Healthy Diets

You can choose from several eating plans to help keep your heart healthy. These plans usually include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and nuts. And each one is flexible enough to adjust to your lifestyle and what you like. Be sure to talk with your doctor before you choose an eating plan. If your doctor says…

Comparing Heart-Healthy Diets

You can choose from several eating plans to help keep your heart healthy. These plans usually include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and nuts. And each one is flexible enough to adjust to your lifestyle and what you like.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before you choose an eating plan.

If your doctor says that any of these plans is a good choice for you, you can pick one based on the kinds of foods you like to eat.

The American Heart Association created this eating plan.

Main focus

Sample dinner menu

  • Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Counting how much salt you eat and counting saturated fats
  • Roasted turkey
  • Summer squash
  • Whole wheat roll
  • Cranberry salad

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a good choice to help lower high blood pressure. But you don't have to have high blood pressure to try it.

Main focus

Sample dinner menu

  • Eating foods that can lower blood pressure, including:
    • Potassium- and magnesium-rich fruits and vegetables like bananas and beans
    • Calcium-rich foods like low-fat and nonfat dairy
  • Eating foods low in saturated fat and total fat, and foods with healthy fats, like nuts and olive oil
  • Recommends how many servings to eat each day from all the food groups
  • Grilled chicken
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Spinach salad with cherry tomatoes and lower-calorie dressing
  • Low-fat yogurt with strawberries

The U.S. government recommends the eating plan called the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Main focus

Sample dinner menu

  • Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
  • Eating or drinking low-fat or nonfat dairy products or fortified soy beverages
  • Counting how much salt you eat, the percentage of your calories from saturated fat, and how much sugar you eat
  • Chicken tacos on a whole-grain tortilla, with tomatoes, lettuce, and low-fat cheese
  • Brown rice with black beans
  • Carrot sticks
  • Fresh fruit

The Mediterranean diet is a style of eating, rather than a formal eating plan. It refers to foods often eaten in Greece, Italy, France, and Spain.

Main focus

Sample dinner menu

  • Eating more healthy fats, like:
    • Unsaturated oils, such as olive oil
    • Fish
    • Nuts
  • Eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Baked salmon
  • Bean salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing
  • Whole wheat bread dipped in olive oil
  • Baked apples with walnuts

ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical Reviewer Colleen O'Connor, PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD, MPH, DrPH - Internal Medicine

Current as ofOctober 5, 2017