heart healthy heart disease tips

Heart Healthy Eating Tips

Eat an overall healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes:

  • a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially blueberries, strawberries, and citrus fruits 
  • whole grains
  • low-fat dairy products
  • skinless poultry and fish
  • nuts and legumes
  • non-tropical vegetable oils

Limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages. If you choose to eat red meat, compare labels and select the leanest cuts available.

Allow yourself an indulgence every now and then. A candy bar or handful of potato chips won't derail your heart-healthy diet. Studies have found that dark chocolate, containing 60-70% cocoa, could reduce nonfatal heart attacks and stroke in people at high risk for these problems. Research has also shown antioxidants in red wine may help prevent heart disease, and champagne has also been found to have heart health benefits.

Doctors do not encourage anyone to start drinking alcohol and to only enjoy in moderation. People can enjoy the heart benefits with just one glass. 

Preventive Care 

The first step in managing heart conditions is preventive care. Making key lifestyle changes can lower your risk of heart problems. If you already have a heart condition, a healthy lifestyle can keep it manageable.

Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure should take extra care in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, because these conditions often lead to heart problems.

To determine your risk for heart disease, there are some questions you should ask yourself, as well as your primary care physician.

Do you know:

  • Whether you have a risk of developing heart disease?
  • What your personal risk factors are?
  • Your risk factor goals?
  • What medications will reduce your personal risk of developing heart disease?
  • The health of your arteries?

In addition to a heart risk factors you can control, there are other risk factors we can assess as we tailor your prevention plan:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Inflammation in your body
  • Genetic factors
  • Atherosclerosis in your arteries

Heart Disease Prevention Plan

Physicians at MedStar Health are committed to helping you prevent heart disease. They will create an individualized plan for you, based on your known risk factors. They will use details from your exams, imaging procedures and conversations to create a prevention plan that may include:

  • Lifestyle changes, to help modify many of your risks. Changes may include smoking cessation, exercise, diet modifications, relaxation techniques and other proven techniques
  • Medication, to control your risk

Location Information

For a physician referral, please call 877-74-HEART (43278).

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
9000 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237