Congestive Heart Failure Healthy Diet

Eating a heart-healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease or slow the progression of such heart conditions as congestive heart failure. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can keep you and your heart in top condition.

Here are some tips on following a heart-healthy diet.

Avoiding High-Fat and High-Cholesterol Foods

One of the most important steps you can take to lower your blood cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing congestive heart failure is to limit the amount of saturated fats and trans fats in your diet.

The American Heart Association offers these guidelines for fat and cholesterol:

  • Saturated Fat: less than 7 percent of your total daily calories
  • Trans Fat: less than 1 percent of your total daily calories
  • Cholesterol: less than 300 milligrams per day for healthy adults and less than 200 milligrams per day for adults who are taking cholesterol-lowering medications or who have high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol.

To limit your intake of high-fat and high-cholesterol foods, limit the amount of solid fat you use during cooking and add to your food. Solid fats include:

  • bacon grease
  • butter
  • cocoa butter
  • coconut, palm and palm-kernel oils
  • lard
  • margarine
  • shortening.

Instead of using these solid fats, opt for low-fat substitutions. For example, you could use salsa to flavor a baked potato or use low-sugar jelly on your toast.

Another healthy alternative is to use monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats when cooking. Try to use:

  • canola oil
  • cholesterol-lowering margarine
  • olive oil
  • trans-fat-free margarine.

These fats may help reduce your total blood cholesterol when used in place of saturated fat.

Choosing Low-Fat Protein Sources

When following a heart-healthy diet, you should choose low-fat protein sources whenever possible. The best low-fat protein sources include:

  • egg whites and egg substitutes
  • fat-free or low-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.)
  • fish, particularly fatty, cold water fish (tuna, salmon, etc.)
  • legumes
  • skinless white-meat poultry
  • soybeans and soybean products, including tofu and soy burgers.

Protein sources you should avoid include:

  • bacon
  • egg yolks
  • fatty and/or marbled meats (sirloin steak, ground chuck, etc.)
  • fried, breaded and canned meats
  • full-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.)
  • hot dogs
  • organs (livers, kidneys, etc.)
  • sausages
  • spare ribs.

Choose Whole Grains

When choosing carbohydrates, make sure they are made with whole grains. Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients because they haven’t had their bran or germ removed. Whole grains also contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • iron
  • magnesium
  • niacin
  • riboflavin
  • thiamin
  • vitamin E
  • zinc.

Eating whole grains is simple: All you have to do is substitute whole-grain products for those made with refined flour. Choose:

  • brown rice
  • high-fiber cereals
  • whole-grain breads
  • whole-wheat pastas
  • whole-wheat flour.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

You probably already know that fruits and vegetables are good for you and are an important part of any diet. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and are good sources of vitamins and minerals. They’re also good sources of soluble fiber, which can help lower blood cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Almost all fruits and vegetables, whether fresh, canned or frozen, are good for your body. However, there are some foods that contain fruits and vegetables that you should avoid, including:

  • canned fruit packed in heavy syrup (Look for canned fruit packed in natural juices.)
  • coconuts and products containing coconut
  • creamy sauces featuring vegetables
  • fried or breaded vegetables
  • salads featuring creamy, fatty dressings.

Choosing Heart-Healthy Foods

The American Heart Association offers these guidelines for choosing heart-healthy foods:

  • Breads, Cereals, Grains