Jun 19, 2015 9:00 AM

Author: Office of Public Affairs

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. While genetics can play a role in heart disease, lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise and a healthful diet, play an even bigger role. “Foods you eat affect your health in many different ways,” says Allison Riederer, MS, a registered dietitian at University of Utah Health. Here, we share some foods that may improve your heart’s health. 

diet heart health nutrition

Heart Health Foods


Start your day with a heart-healthy bowl of oatmeal. Recent studies suggest it lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Even better, top your oatmeal with a handful of blueberries or strawberries, as berries may help reduce blood pressure.

Fruits and vegetables

“Eat at least three servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables daily,” Riederer suggests. “There’s no better way to get nutrients that your body needs.” In addition to reducing your risk for heart disease, a diet rich in fruits and veggies also lowers your risk for certain cancers and chronic diseases.


Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, such as salmon, trout and tuna, may help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk for heart disease. Aim for two servings of fish weekly. “Eat salmon for dinner instead of fried chicken,” Riederer suggests. “This boosts your intake of omega-3 fats while reducing saturated and trans fats.”

Flax seeds

These little seeds pack a nutritious punch. High in omega-3s and fiber, flax seeds may also help reduce cholesterol. Incorporate these little gems into you diet by sprinkling a teaspoon of ground flax seeds onto oatmeal, yogurt or cereal.

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