What Is It and How Can I Follow It?

What Is It and How Can I Follow It?

The cardiac diet aims to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by increasing the consumption of anti-inflammatory, heart-healthy foods. It emphasizes the addition of vegetables, healthy grains, and oily fish to the diet. These foods promote cardiovascular health. The diet also restricts high-sugar and high-salt processed meals, which can raise the risk of heart disease.

This article will go over foods to prioritize and limit, as well as provide an example of a meal plan for a cardiac diet. It will also explain provide ideas on how to adhere to the diet, and propose further lifestyle modifications to consider.

What is Considered a Cardiac Diet?

“Cardiac diet” is the unofficial phrase for a heart-healthy diet. It is a diet that places a focus on foods that promote heart health, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean chicken, and omega-3-rich oily fish such as salmon and tuna. The diet also limits the consumption of processed foods high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats because they raise the risk of heart disease.

Numerous heart-healthy diets are highly advised for cancer patients and anyone wishing to improve their cardiovascular health. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, the Mediterranean diet, and other vegetarian diets are a few examples.

What Can You have on a Cardiac Diet?

Choose foods from the following categories to create a heart-healthy plate:

Whole grains

  • Whole grain bagels, English muffins, baguettes, and tortillas.
  • Hot or cold, sugar-free, whole grain breakfast cereals, such as oatmeal or shredded wheat.
  • Whole grain wild or brown rice, or quinoa.
  • Whole wheat or whole grain couscous and spaghetti

Choose items with “whole” as the first ingredient, such as “whole wheat,” “whole grain,” or “whole oats.”

Meats and additional proteins

  • Seafood consisting of fish (particularly omega-3-rich types) such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and lake trout.
  • Poultry – skinless chicken or turkey breast, or chicken or turkey ground lean (at least 93% lean).
  • At least 93% lean pork shoulder, beef sirloin, and lean ground beef.
  • Legumes, pulses, and lentils
  • Egg whites or egg substitutes
  • Nuts and seeds without salt
  • Tofu

Fruits and vegetables

  • All fresh vegetables and greens
  • All vegetables in a can (rinse to remove salt or select “no salt added”)
  • Frozen veggies containing no butter nor sauces.
  • All fruits fresh
  • Fruit that is canned, frozen, or dried without added sugars


  • Consider fat-free or low-fat alternatives.
  • Nonfat or reduced-fat (1%) milk
  • Plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Cottage cheese with fat-free or low-fat cheeses

Healthy fats and oils

  • Unsaturated vegetable oils (olive, canola, safflower, peanut, soybean, sunflower or avocado)
  • Low-fat or low-calorie mayonnaise
  • Non-creamy, oil-based salad dressings, such as balsamic vinaigrette and Italian dressings.
  • Soft margarine out of tubs, not sticks
  • Avocados


  • Water (plain or flavored with fruit slices)
  • Sparkling water
  • Coffee
  • Tea

What Should You Avoid on a Cardiac Diet?

Avoid these foods or limit them from your diet for a healthy heart.


  • Cakes, cookies, muffins, scones, biscuits, croissants, cobblers, doughnuts, pastries, and pies
  • White rice, bread, and APF pasta
  • Snacks containing oils that have been partially hydrogenated. This assortment contains potato chips, crackers, snack mixes, cheese puffs, and microwave popcorn

Meats and other protein

  • High-fat beef chops (regular ground meat, ribs, T-bone and ribeye steaks)
  • Processed meats, such as hot dogs, sausage, salami, luncheon meat, and bacon.
  • Organ meats (liver, brains and sweetbreads)
  • Fried poultry or fish
  • Birds with skin
  • Whole eggs

Vegetable and fruits

  • Fried vegetables and fruits
  • Prepared vegetables with butter, cheese, or creamy sauces
  • Canned or frozen fruits soaked in a thick syrup


  • Full-fat cheese
  • Creme fraîche
  • Whole or 2% milk
  • Whole Milk Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Or half-and-half or cream

Lipids and oils

  • Butter
  • Stick margarine
  • Shortening
  • Tropical oils such as coconut, palm, and palm kernel oil


  • Drinks with added sugar
  • Alcohol

What are Some Tips for Cardiac Diet?

Beginning and maintaining a cardiac diet is a process. Start with one adjustment. For example, substitute olive oil for butter when cooking. Add another modification after it becomes second nature, like eating more fruits and vegetables.

If a heart-healthy diet differs from your normal diet, it may initially be difficult to adjust. With even small adjustments over time, you might, however, reap the rewards of a cardio diet.


As an alternative to salt and heavy sauces, herbs and spices can be used to enhance the flavor of food. Keeping a food diary or having a diet partner can also aid in motivation.

It is essential to remember that not everyone has equal access to foods that promote health. The ability of a person to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables is influenced by factors such as income level and neighborhood amenities.

Individually, establishing a cost-effective meal plan that satisfies a person’s specific dietary requirements is one method to make a cardiac diet more accessible. Consider planning meals for the week and selecting items that can be frozen or securely stored for extended durations.

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