McLaren Health Care
Cardiac Health and Diet Information

Cardiac Health and Diet Information

Potato chips, bacon cheeseburgers, fried chicken, hot fudge sundaes, pork rinds:
All must be cast aside as you nourish your body with fruits, vegetables, and lean meat!

Not ready to go through quadruple bypass surgery ever again? The good news: there are healthy diet choices to help keep your arteries free of cholesterol. The better news: you snack your way through the day, eating small portions of fruits, vegetables, plain unsalted popcorn, or graham crackers. The best news: Combine new heart-healthy eating with moderate exercise, under your doctor's supervision, and you could feel 10 years younger.

The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, or DASH diet. Three ounces of lean meat per day satisfies our protein requirement. Three ounces is the size of a deck of cards. Patients are steered toward a more vegetarian-based diet:

  • whole grains (wheat or nine-grain breads, wild or brown rice, unsweetened whole wheat or bran cereals)
  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • herbs and spices as seasoning, instead of salt
  • skim milk, unsweetened fruit juices and water
  • non-fat frozen yogurt, angel food cake, sorbet or fruit ices.
  • baked or broiled foods
  • egg substitutes
  • Lean, skinless meat cuts, with emphasis on chicken and fish
  • No more than a teaspoon of salt a day, or 2,400 milligrams
  • Monounsatured fats, like olive oil, peanut oil
  • Low-fat nuts like unsalted almonds or walnuts, and legumes (kidney beans, lentils, and peas)
  • Salads: Top with fresh raw vegetables, nuts or seeds. Avoid olives, pickled beets, bacon bits, cheese, and ham. Consider oil and vinegar as your salad dressing

Eating and exercise go hand in hand. Ideally, a 10-15 minute walk before breakfast, and the same before dinner become part of your regular routine. 

The American Heart Association has shown in research studies that healthy eating and regular exercise reduces high blood pressure, and decreases the risk of additional heart problems.