What Not To Eat When You Have Heart Problems?

Ones, who have recently had a heart problem, should know that their life has already started to change. Heart patients would still need to make many more changes in order to get healthy and reduce their risk of additional problems. Heart patients need to have medications, start eating healthy foods and exercising, and avoid unhealthy foods, which may have caused their heart problem in the first place. The right diet is a vital part of speedy recovery from heart troubles. Wondering what to eat and what not to eat when you have heart problems? Here’s an article to help you design the ideal diet chart for a heart patient.

What Not To Eat When You Have Heart Problems?

Foods to Avoid After a Heart Issue

Along with other healthy habits, a healthy diet is equally important for patients with heart problems. Not only does the right diet help to slow or even partially reverse the narrowing of heart’s arteries, but a healthy diet also prevents further complications. Heart patients should adopt a diet, which is low in LDL, or bad cholesterol, for decreasing their blood pressure, reducing their blood sugar level and losing weight. People with heart problems should not eat foods that are high in:

Saturated Fats

After a heart problem, the patient needs to avoid foods which contain saturated and trans-fats. This is because these fats build up in the blood and can eventually clog and even block the heart blood vessels and result in another heart attack. Doctors suggest heart patients to reduce their intake of fried foods, baked goods, fast foods and desserts, as all these are high in saturated or trans-fats. Poultry with skin and high-fat meats, like beef should also be consumed in limited amounts as these are rich in fats too. Even some plant-based foods like coconut oil and palm oil contain unhealthy saturated fats, and thus should be avoided. Heart patients are advised to always read the label of packed foods to find out their saturated fat content. Their foods should contain no more than 7% of the total daily calories. Less than 1% of the individual’s total daily calories should come from trans-fats foods.

Sugar and Salt

Sugar and salt pose serious threat for people trying to improve their heart health. If you have heart problems, then you should not eat foods rich in sugar and salt. Salt or sodium can elevate the blood pressure levels significantly and increase the risk of heart attack. It is advisable that they limit their sodium consumption to less than 2,300 mg per day. Ones facing high risk for heart disease should limit this amount to less than 1,500 mg a day. Many processed, canned or pre-packed foods contain hidden salt, so it is better to avoid high-salt foods when suffering from heart problems. Heart patients should stay away from potato chips, crackers, salty pretzels, salted nuts and canned soups. Heart patients should avoid adding salt to their meals and dishes, and rather season them with salt-free herbs. People having heart problems should also limit sugar in their diet, as it can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of another heart attack. People having heart problems should avoid consuming candy, desserts, other sweets, and high-sugar beverages like sweetened fruit juices and soda, as much as possible.


One of the biggest contributors to heart attack and other cardiac problems is cholesterol. Produced by the liver, cholesterol is a material similar to the fat which clogs arteries and causes them to harden up. Post a heart problem, the patient should try and restrict their dietary intake of cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day. Eggs, meats, butter and dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt are some foods that are high in cholesterol and should not be eaten in excess when you have heart problems. Heart patients should also keep away from kidney, liver, brains, sweetbread, and other organ meats which have a high cholesterol content.

The Ideal Diet for People with Cardiac Problems

The ideal meal for someone with heart disease should include:

  • More of plant based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. These foods are rich in fiber and other nutrients, and can taste great in a salad, as an entree or in a side dish.
  • People with heart problems should consume limited saturated fat from animal products. Artificial trans-fat should be avoided as much as possible.
    Oils, like olive, peanut, soybean, corn, and sunflower oil, which are high in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat, should be chosen for adding fats in cooking or baking by people with heart problems.
  • A variety of protein-rich foods like fish, lean meat, and protein rich vegetables should be added in the meals for heart patients.
  • Foods, like red meat and high-fat dairy products should be eaten in limited quantities by people with heart problems, as these foods can raise blood cholesterol level.
  • The right kind of carbs should be served in the daily meals for heart patients. Foods like oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potato and quinoa should be included in the cardiac diet to increase the fiber intake and control blood sugar levels. It is also important to not eat sugary foods when you have heart problems.
  • The intake of salt, or sodium, should be limited since it is bad for blood pressure. Spices, herbs, or condiments should rather be used to flavour the foods.
  • Patients of cardiac disorders should eat regularly for maintaining optimal blood sugar level, burning fat more efficiently, and regulating cholesterol levels.
  • Staying well hydrated can make the individual feel energetic and also help to curb their appetite. About 1 to 2 litre of water should be consumed every day, unless advised by the doctor to limit fluid intake.
  • The serving size of the food should be kept in check by the heart patients. This can be done by using smaller plates and glasses, and checking food labels to see the quantity in per serving.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 3, 2019

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