The best foods for heart health: health on your plate

Cardiovascular disease remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. However, many of these diseases can be prevented or the risk of developing them reduced by adopting a healthy lifestyle and eating the right foods. Choosing the right foods is a key factor in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Let’s take a look at some of the best foods to include in your diet to support heart health.

The best foods for heart health: health on your plate
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Oily marine fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, sardines and mackerel are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids help lower blood cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, prevent blood clotting and support normal heart muscle function. It is recommended that you eat fish at least twice a week.


Nuts are an excellent source of plant protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Studies show that nut consumption is also associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts are particularly good for the heart. However, nuts are high in calories, so they should be eaten in small amounts as a snack or added to salads.

Fruits and vegetables:

Fruits and vegetables are important sources of nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and soluble fibre. They help lower blood pressure, strengthen blood vessel walls and regulate cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Berries, citrus fruits, apples, grapefruit, red wine, tomatoes, spinach and broccoli are particularly good for the heart. It is recommended to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.


Whole grains, such as oats, barley, quinoa and brown rice, are rich in soluble fibre (roughage) and can also help reduce bad cholesterol in the blood. They also contain many other nutrients, including magnesium and phytochemicals that are beneficial for heart muscle health. Replace traditional white flour and white flour products with whole grain counterparts to maximise the benefits for your heart.

Olive oil:

Olive oil is one of the healthiest plant oils. It contains monounsaturated fats, which help regulate levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body. Olive oil is also a rich source of antioxidants, which are good for the heart. Try using olive oil instead of other oils when cooking and dressing salads.

The health of your heart depends on many factors, including a healthy lifestyle and diet. Increasing your intake of heart-healthy foods can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and improve your overall health. Include fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables, cereals and olive oil in your diet and take steps towards a healthy heart. But remember that other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity and avoiding unhealthy habits, are also important for optimal heart health.

Prepared by Mary Clair

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