Healthy Eating, Not Dieting Better for Heart Health


What should you eat to improve heart health and lower your risk for heart disease?

It’s a loaded question. There’s a long list of “diets” that recommend certain foods, eating practices, avoidance of some foods, and even intermittent fasting in the name of better health.

Here’s one example: Ever heard of the 5:2 Diet? It’s basically an eating plan that recommends eating normally for 5 days. Sounds reasonable, right? Then for two days a week, you cut back, way back, to no more than 500 to 600 calories a day.

Supporters of this diet claimed the 5:2 Diet was an effective way to reduce the risk for heart disease. But a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that this approach wasn’t more effective than eating a balanced diet seven days a week.

The truth: Any form of dieting or food restriction can promote weight loss. But it isn’t sustainable. And for many people, dieting frequently leads to binge eating and weight gain. So what heart-healthy eating tips to try instead?

vegetable stew

Here’s what the American Heart Association recommends:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Skinless poultry and fish
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes
  • Healthy oils
  • There’s also foods you should limit or avoid, like: fried and processed foods, sugary drinks and snacks, alcohol, and foods high in sodium.

Doesn’t that sound a lot better than dieting? It’s a lot more sustainable, and enjoyable. Eat healthy most of the time, and a treat or dessert now and then isn’t that big of a deal. Combine healthy eating with regular exercise, and your heart will be  healthier, too.

Hungry for healthy? Check out some of the favorites on our Low-Sodium Menu like Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce, Eggplant Parmigiana, and many others.