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Heart Failure Food: What's Safe To Eat With Heart Failure

    Heart Failure Food: What's Safe To Eat With Heart Failure

    There is a specific diet for persons with heart failure, which develops when excess fluid accumulates and interferes with your heart’s capacity to pump blood efficiently. Instead, doctors often advise making dietary modifications to eliminate excess fluid. This typically entails limiting your fluid intake while also cutting back on your salt intake, since both of these factors affect your blood. What is included in the list of heart failure food? Check it out here.

    Heart Failure and Diet

    But first, let’s understand the connection between heart failure and your diet.

    Fluid accumulation associated with heart failure makes it challenging for your heart to function properly. Any HF treatment strategy must include lowering your body’s fluid retention and salt intake.

    Limit fluids

    Your heart cannot properly pump blood if you have heart failure. As a result, your body fills up with fluid. You can gain weight and have symptoms like edema or swelling, breathlessness, getting easily tired, or unable to lie flat on bed, if you consume an excessive amount of water and other fluids. Find out from your doctor how much fluid you should consume daily. Keep an eye out for items with a lot of liquid, such as soup, fruit, and ice pops. Additionally, keep a daily drinking log.

    Limit salt intake

    It is advised to keep your daily salt intake around 2,000 mg unless your doctor prescribes a different amount. Keep in mind that salt includes condiments, too. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “a diet low in sodium can help lessen fluid retention, meaning the heart doesn’t have to work so hard.”

    Hence, fluid intake limitation and salt intake are the most common dietary restrictions in patients with heart failure.

    Besides limiting your fluids and salt intake, the following guidelines are also helpful:

    Consume more vibrant fruits and vegetables

    The foundation of a heart-healthy diet is fresh food. However, the doctors will also take into account factors like the patient’s comorbidities and nutritional status. For instance, fruits and vegetables are low in calories and salt and high in nutrients. But people with diabetes are usually not allowed too much fruit intake.

    Generally, the more vibrant your plate is, the better. Berries are a rich source of plant nutrients and fiber. Vitamins C, E, and folate are found in abundance in green vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach. You may get your share of fiber and beta-carotene by eating orange fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

    Consume more whole grains

    There are various reasons why grains are heart-friendly. They are rich in fiber, which reduces levels of cholesterol that clogs arteries. Additionally, because fiber digests slowly, it may help you feel fuller for longer and reduces your appetite. B vitamins, which assist your heart in supplying your body with oxygen, are found in abundance in whole grains. Whole grains include things like popcorn, whole wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice. If in doubt, seek for “whole grain” that appears first on food labels that include the ingredient list.

    Consume more beans

    Beans actually benefit your heart. They are a robust and satisfying complement to meals, whether you favor kidney, lima, or pinto beans. You may get all the protein you need from these vibrant beans without the added fat and calories from meat. They can also assist in lowering your cholesterol when included in a heart-healthy diet. Choose salt-free beans or rinse them beforehand to reduce the added sodium if you buy canned beans for convenience.

    Consume more fish high in Omega-3

    This is another great substitute for meat protein. Unsaturated fats called omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which can damage the arteries. Two fish servings per week may help to moderately lower blood pressure and minimize heart disease and cardiac arrest. Choose seafood like salmon, sardines, pollock, and albacore tuna that are high in omega-3s yet low in mercury.

    Eat more beneficial oils

    Instead of solid fats like butter, margarine, shortening, or lard, use vegetable oils. The monounsaturated fatty acids in canola, olive, safflower, corn, and soybean oils are good for you. Use these oils for sautéing, baking, or stir-frying instead of deep-frying, which increases fat and calorie content.

    Consume more nuts

    They are a satisfying snack and a wonderful source of protein, minerals, and healthy fat. To help decrease LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, include them in your diet. Nuts also help your body to heal from inflammation. They may reduce your chance of having a heart attack or passing away from heart disease if you eat them a few times each week. Watch your portion amounts, however. Given how many calories nuts contain, a few handfuls may quickly add up.

    With cheese, butter, and cream, say no

    Your diet should include dairy items like milk and yogurt. They provide vitamin D, calcium, and protein in addition to strengthening bones. However, it matters what kind of dairy you select. Saturated fat, which is abundant in whole milk, ice cream, butter, and cream, elevates LDL cholesterol levels. Opt for low-fat dairy instead. Purchase plain yogurt devoid of sugar. Additionally, keep your daily cheese intake to one little piece.

    Never consume salty condiments or sauces

    Store-bought condiments and sauces frequently have a lot of salt in them. Salad dressing, soy sauce, and spicy sauce are some of the worst offenders. Before you buy, check the label for the amount of salt. Consider low-sodium substitutes. Making your own salad dressings and sauces using salt-free seasonings like lemon, olive oil, and vinegar is preferable. For fish and poultry marinades, use orange or pineapple juice.

    Refuse processed and smoked meats

    Due to their high fat and cholesterol content, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs are not good for your heart. To preserve them, these processed meats are smoked, salted, or given chemical infusions. Burgers and other processed and fatty red meats are bad for your heart. Better sources of protein include fish, lean chicken, legumes, and tofu.

    Saying no to desserts

    Sugary meals and beverages like soda, sweets, and baked goods like cookies and cakes lead to obesity, which is bad for your health.

    Sugar boosts inflammation and blood sugar levels, too. That may be the reason why those who consume too many sweets have a higher chance of passing away from heart disease. How much sugar is permitted? Women should have no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day, while males should consume no more than 9 teaspoons.

    For this reason, it is especially important for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar. One way to do it is through regular testing (Fasting Blood Sugar and HBA1C).

    Avoid eating fried food

    You immediately add fat and cholesterol when you fry food in oil. Regularly consuming fried meals causes weight gain, which might cause your blood pressure to rise. Fried meals, according to research, raise the risk of heart disease and heart failure. For a heart-healthy but still delectable meal, bake, broil, roast, or stir-fry veggies with lean meats like chicken and fish.

    Avoid drinking alcohol

    While drinking a glass of red wine every day may be helpful for your heart, it’s advisable to stop if you have heart conditions. Alcohol has empty calories that cause weight gain and don’t provide any additional nourishment. Additionally, certain heart medications don’t interact well with alcohol.

    Have an appropriate exercise routine

    Once your condition has stabilized, don’t forget the importance of physical activity. Discuss with your doctor the type of exercise you can do and for how long you can do them. They will also tell you about the warning signs indicating that you’re pushing yourself too hard.


    These recommendations are for outpatient heart failure care. Acute Heart Failure is a medical emergency warranting urgent care. Hence, if you have the symptoms of acute heart failure, please go to the hospital immediately.

    Learn more about Heart Failure here.


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    Diet and congestive heart failure, https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/diet_and_congestive_heart_failure/, Accessed Sept 1, 2022

    Dietary Sodium Intake in Heart Failure, http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/126/4/479, Accessed Sept 1, 2022

    Heart failure nutrition, http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/cardiology/Pages/heart-failure-nutrition.aspx, Accessed Sept 1, 2022

    The Low-Sodium Diet for Heart Failure, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17072-heart-failure-diet-low-sodium, Accessed Sept 1, 2022

    Heart failure guide, https://www.cardiosmart.org/~/media/Documents/Heart-Failure-Guide.ashx, Accessed Sept 1, 2022



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    Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel Updated 3 days agoMedically reviewed by Lauren Labrador, MD, FPCP, DPCC
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