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What food should you be eating and avoiding to maintain a healthy heart?

What food should you be eating and avoiding to maintain a healthy heart?

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for your heart. To keep it ticking, you need to eat the right food to give your heart healthy fuel. Here we explore the rights and wrongs when it comes to diet and heart health.

Food Heaven

Here is our list of foods you should be eating to maintain a happy, healthy heart:


A healthy, balanced diet should include at least 2 portions of fish a week, including 1 portion of oily fish including mackerel or salmon.

Oily fish are chock full of heart-loving omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.

If you don’t eat fish, there are several plant foods which are high in omega3s including:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds (especially flax, chia and hemp seeds)
  • Soya beans


Avocados are high in heart-friendly fats called ‘monounsaturated fats’ and they’re also a great source of potassium which is great for maintaining healthy blood pressure.

Dark Chocolate

Yes, you’re reading correctly! Dark chocolate contains resveratrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids), which can lower blood pressure. If you do fancy a bit of chocolate, stick to one serving and go for a chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa content.


Eating berries that are particularly high in antioxidants can help reduce internal inflammation. If your artery walls become too inflamed, you may be more at risk of a heart attack.


Whole grains lower your risk of heart disease which is the leading cause of death worldwide! Make sure your diet is rich in a variety of whole grains including:

  • Whole rye
  • Whole wheat
  • Whole oats
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Bulgur

Food Hell

Only eat the following food in moderation, as a treat alongside a healthy diet:


Eating too much salt raises your blood pressure and puts you at risk of developing high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and also stroke. Try to refrain from eating food that contains a large amount of salt. The maximum daily amount of salt for adults is 6g – that's around 1 teaspoon.

The particularly salty foods to watch out for are:

  • Sausages/bacon/ham
  • Pastries/cheese/pizza
  • Crisps
  • Shop-bought soups
  • Condiments (ketchup, gravy, soy sauce and mustard)

Processed Meat

Burgers, hot dogs, salami and canned meat are all considered as processed meats because they have been preserved by curing, smoking and drying. Processed meats are packed with saturated fat which can clog up the arteries and restrict the blood supply to the heart, this can lead to heart attacks.


Consuming too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and your weight, increasing your risk of heart disease. Even drinking a small amount can slow your heart rate. Over time, high blood pressure caused by drinking puts a strain on the heart muscle which is very dangerous.


High-sugar diets can lead to obesity, inflammation, high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure, these are all leading risk factors of heart disease. Sugar can be to anything from sauces to cereals. You might think you’re being healthy but in actual fact, you might be consuming too much sugar.

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