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Heart Attack Prevention Food: The Best And Worst Options

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 13, 2023

Heart Attack Prevention Food: The Best And Worst Options

What you eat affects how your body functions, including your heart, so changing your eating habits can help lower your risk of having another heart attack. Here is a breakdown of diets that can help and foods that should be avoided after a heart attack. Treatment for heart attacks focuses on preventing another heart attack or any related complications, such as a stroke. What is the best heart attack prevention food? 

Foods to Have: Best Heart Attack Prevention Food

Nuts and seeds, beans, legumes, whole grains, plant-based oils, such as olive oil, eggs (you can eat up to six per week), lean meats, skinless chicken, and other foods low in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars can all be part of a heart-healthy diet. But, of course, fruits and vegetables, fish, and water, are also indispensable.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

When feasible, consume vegetables and fruits raw to get the most benefits. Fresh vegetables and fruits can be substituted with canned or frozen versions. But be aware of any added components like sodium, butter, or sugar.


One of the best types of heart attack prevention food for your heart is fish, particularly some types of oily fish. This is because oily fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower triglycerides, fight inflammation, and support vascular health. Choose canned fish that is packed in water and try to eat at least two servings of fish every week. Canned fish is also a wonderful alternative. Examples include salmon, sardines, trout, herring, and mackerel.


Water is your greatest choice when it comes to beverages. If you don’t enjoy the taste of plain water, try flavoring it. For an all-natural flavor, slice a lemon, cucumber, or berry, and add them to your water.

Food to Avoid: Worst Heart Attack Prevention Food

Caffeinated drinks

Consult your doctor to determine whether drinking caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and tea, is safe for your heart. If so, consume them sparingly without cream or sugar.

Sugar, Salt, Fat

If you’re concerned about your heart, you’ll want to avoid eating foods high in salt, sugar, saturated fat, and refined carbohydrates on a regular basis. However, it’s better to focus on your overall diet than to obsess over any one particular unhealthy food because you can still enjoy these foods if you eat a diet high in heart-healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products.


If you’re on your road to recovery, don’t delay your healing by eating this. It is not good for heart attack prevention. Bacon contains more than half of its calories from saturated fat, which can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke and lower good cholesterol (LDL). Bacon’s additional preservatives are also connected to stroke, heart disease, and heart failure. It is loaded with sodium, the major component of salt, which raises blood pressure and causes the heart to work harder.

Soda and Other Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Small amounts of added sugar are not harmful, but a can of soda contains more added sugar than doctors advise for an entire day. And while the science is still murky on diet drinks, some research links them to weight gain and stroke. Your best option is plain, carbonated, or unsweetened flavored water. Soda drinkers tend to gain more weight, are more likely to be obese, and have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Baked Goods And Other Sweets

Make healthier snacks instead of cookies, cakes, and muffins, which are normally made with white flour and are typically rich in added sugar, which can increase blood triglyceride levels and increase the risk of heart disease. These foods should only be enjoyed occasionally. Replace the butter or shortening with whole-wheat flour, reduce the amount of sugar, and use liquid plant oils.

Processed Meats

Avoid this for heart attack prevention. When it comes to deli meats, turkey is better for you than salami. Turkey doesn’t have saturated fat, but it still has a fair amount of sodium. It isn’t as heart-healthy as fresh, sliced turkey breast. Hot dogs, sausage, salami, and lunch meat are the worst types of meats for your heart because they have high amounts of salt and most are high in saturated fat.

Refined Grains And Starches, Such as White Rice, Bread, and Pasta

A diet high in refined grains can cause belly fat, which studies link to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Instead, try to get at least half your grains from whole grains like brown rice, oats, and whole wheat. White rice, bread, pasta, and snacks are missing their healthy fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Refined grains quickly convert to sugar, which your body stores as fat. Look for the phrase “100% whole grain” when you are shopping.


Pizza can be healthy if it’s prepared properly, but most takeout and frozen pies are incredibly high in sodium, fat, and calories, which can all increase your chance of having a heart attack. When ordering takeout, choose a thin crust (whole wheat if possible), request less cheese, pile on the vegetables, and omit the salty pepperoni or sausage. Make your own pizza for the heartiest option.


Unless you have high blood pressure or high triglycerides, a form of blood fat that can increase your risk of heart disease, moderate drinking won’t hurt your heart. On the other side, excessive alcohol use can cause weight gain, heart failure, high blood pressure, and stroke. So don’t start drinking if you don’t already.


Butter has a lot of saturated fat, which can increase your bad cholesterol and increase your risk of developing heart disease. Olive oil or spreads made from vegetable oil, which include heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, are preferable to butter. An even better spread is one that contains stanol if you have excessive cholesterol. Your LDL cholesterol levels can be lowered with consistent use.

Flavored, Full-Fat Yogurt

A fantastic source of nourishment is yogurt. Regular consumption could lower the risk of high blood pressure. Watch what you purchase, though. Yogurts with flavors often have a lot of added sugar, which has been linked to inflammation, heart disease, high blood pressure, and weight gain. Get plain low-fat yogurt and flavor it with your own fresh fruit, cinnamon, or vanilla for the healthiest option.

French Fries

Restaurant and fast food deep-fried potatoes are unhealthy for your heart since they are high in fat and salt. According to one study, those who consume hash browns or french fries two to three times each week are more likely to pass away at a young age. If you must indulge, get two things and share one portion. Making your own oven-baked fries with heart-healthy olive oil is even better. If you use sweet potatoes, they’ll be even healthier for you.

Fried Chicken

An otherwise nutritious food gets more calories, fat, and sodium when chicken is deep-fried. Fried foods increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure, all of which increase your risk of heart failure, according to studies. Instead of frying, bread skinless chicken breasts in whole-wheat flour for a crispy but healthier option.

Canned Soup

Increasing your intake of vegetables, protein, and fiber can be simple with soup. However, beware of unhealthy components. Many canned soups are heavy in sodium, which raises blood pressure and increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke, and heart failure. Additionally, any cream-based soup contains harmful saturated fat. Making your own soup from home with a low-sodium broth is the best option. Check the label for the least salty and fatty soups if you do decide to purchase prepared soup. Remove this from your heart attack prevention/ good food list. 

Ranch Dressing

This well-liked dressing normally has buttermilk, salt, and sugar as its key components. It has high fat, salt, and calorie content as a result. Nothing about that is heart-healthy. By combining low-fat sour cream or cottage cheese with low-fat buttermilk and fresh herbs like dill, tarragon, or chives, you can create a healthier version of your favorite creamy dressings.

Ice Cream

Save ice cream for exceptional occasions only because it is high in calories, sugar, and saturated fat. Foods high in fat and sugar make you gain weight. Additionally, it can raise your triglycerides and cause a heart attack. By selecting sorbet, low-fat or non-fat frozen yogurt, or frozen fruit bars, you can reduce your calorie and fat intake. The least amount of sugar and saturated fat can be seen on the label.

Potato Chips

One of the items that most contributes to weight gain is potato chips. Additionally, they are covered in salt, which has been related to heart disease, in addition to being high in saturated fat. Pass on the low-fat or low-sodium potato chips. They’ll only make you hungry once more. The healthiest snacks mix lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Examples are handmade popcorn drizzled in olive oil or whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese.

Key Takeaways

Talk to your doctor, a registered dietitian, or a nutritionist about ways you can adjust your eating habits in order to live a heart-healthy lifestyle that can help you avoid another heart attack, enhance quality of life, and have a good impact on your attitude. Make a list of these heart attack prevention foods and keep them when you head to the grocery for your next meal planning. 

Learn more about Heart Disease here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 13, 2023

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