Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Heart Failure Diet Menu

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Lunch Selections For Heart Health

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Choose a healthy lunch that is low in sodium, fat and cholesterol as part of your cardiac diet. Packing a lunch or planning ahead can help you resist the urge to opt for fast food. If you like sandwiches, choose whole-grain bread, topped with low-sodium luncheon meat and vegetables such as lettuce, tomato and red onion. Salads are another quick option. Add lean chicken and your favorite fruits and veggies.

Read the label on your salad dressing to limit fat and sodium. Fat-free, low-sodium dressing should contain less than 0.5 grams of fat and no more than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving. If you go out for lunch, look at the nutrition information for the menu ahead of time.

Fluid Restriction In Heart Failure

In addition to a low-sodium diet, a fluid restriction is commonly recommended for heart failure.

Limiting the amounts of fluids you consume is thought to reduce excess fluid from accumulating in your body, which can overload your heart and cause shortness of breath and swelling in your legs .

A fluid restriction usually limits fluids to 1,5002,000 mL per day but can be as low as 800 mL .

Here are examples of fluids:

Foods like ice cream, yogurt, pudding, and sauces may also need to be taken into consideration as fluids.

Like a low-sodium diet, however, the evidence for fluid restriction in heart failure remains mixed.

A review of six studies found there were no significant differences in hospital readmission rates or death from any cause in patients who restricted their fluid intakes compared with those who didnt .

The same review, however, found that brain natriuretic peptide levels were significantly higher in patients who didnt follow a fluid restriction.

BNP is a hormone that is secreted when the heart becomes stressed, and increased levels have been associated with poor health outcomes and longer hospital stays for heart failure .

While these results suggest that people who follow a fluid restriction have similar health outcomes as those who dont, additional research is necessary to determine whether fluid restriction can strongly be recommended or discouraged as a treatment option for heart failure .

What Is The Best Diet For Congestive Heart Failure

Once you are diagnosed with congestive heart failure, you will meet with your medical team, which includes a nutritionist. They will provide you with guidelines on what activities you can do, along with an eating plan that helps manage your condition. Your diet should be low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat. You can still eat lean protein like chicken, certain types of fish, seafood, legumes, whole grains, fresh fruit, and vegetables.

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Cooking And Eating At Home

When preparing food and eating at home:

  • Instead of cooking vegetables in butter, try boiling, steaming, roasting, or lightly sautéing with olive oil.
  • When cooking poultry and fish, baking, broiling, stir-frying, sautéing, or grilling are preferred over deep-frying.
  • Take the saltshaker off the table, as even a little shake can add a lot of sodium to your meal. Infuse flavor into your meals with herbs, spices, garlic, onion, and citrus zest and juices.
  • Feel free to adjust recipes to accommodate your diet. This includes adding less salt than is called for, swapping out butter for a healthier fat, such as olive oil, or using whole grains instead of refined grains.
  • If possible, cook from scratch or semi-scratch. This will help you decrease the prepackaged foods you use, which are typically high in sodium, fat, and/or added sugars.
  • Choose fruit in place of a traditional dessert for a sweet way to end your meal.

Have High Cholesterol Foods To Avoid On A Cardiac Diet

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If you have high blood cholesterol or another cardiovascular health concern, there are certain foods youll want to avoid to keep your heart-healthy.

One common misconception is that all high cholesterol foods should be avoided completely. Cholesterol from your diet actually doesnt affect your blood cholesterol levels like it was once thought, says Christy Shatlock, MS, registered dietitian at bistroMD. However, you do have to be careful because oftentimes foods high in cholesterol are also high in saturated fat, which needs to be limited on a heart-healthy diet. In other words, dont indulge in bacon and whole milk. But go ahead and eat eggs, salmon and shrimp even though they have cholesterol, since theyre not high in saturated fat.

Instead of focusing on high cholesterol foods while on a cardiac diet, avoid trans fats and saturated fats and foods high in salt and sugar.

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Struggling To Cook Healthy We’ll Help You Prep

Following a heart-healthyor cardiacdiet would be recommended to someone who has high blood pressure, high cholesterol or any other history of heart disease, or to someone who has a family history of heart disease, explains Lauren Kelly, MS, RD, CDN and founder of Kelly Wellness in New York City.

But even if you dont have a cardiovascular health concern, sticking to a cardiac diet is important, since it can reduce risk of heart disease in the future, says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

In fact, this is the way we all should be eating. By limiting junk foods and adding more cardiac diet recipes and foods, youll be fueling your body with what it needs to stay healthy and possibly improve your overall health.

Following a cardiac diet can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, says Kelly. It can even boost your energy because of your healthier food choices. Results vary from person to person, explains Dr. Lichtenstein, since they depend on a variety of factors, including what you were eating before you went on a cardiac diet, your lifestyle choices and other risk factors.

Bread And Grains: Choose 6 Or More Servings Per Day

  • Low-sodium whole-grain breads, rolls, bagels and cereals .
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pasta .
  • 1/2 cup brown rice.
  • Low-sodium whole-grain crackers .
  • 3 cups low-sodium popcorn.
  • 1 cup fresh fruit.
  • 1/4 cup unsalted nuts.

Note: For a diet in which you consume 2,000 mg of sodium per day, a sample plan might involve eating 500 mg at breakfast, 250 mg for snacks twice daily, 500 mg for lunch and 500 mg for dinner.

It takes about three to six weeks for your tastebuds to start to adjust and stop missing the salt so much, notes Taylor. Stick with it and allow your body to get used to your new food choices. Instead of focusing on all the foods to avoid, focus on all the healthy foods you should be eating. Your grocery cart should look like you just came from the farmers market full of actual foods, not just products.

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Nutrition Tips For Congestive Heart Failure

If you have congestive heart failure, follow these nutrition guidelines:

  • Check food labels, and bound salt and sodium to 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams per day.
  • Substitute salt and other high-sodium seasonings with replacements that have no salt or are low in sodium.
  • While dining out, think about unrevealed sources of salt and sodium, such as salad dressings and soups. Ask for options low in salt and sodium.
  • Select meats and other foods that are low in saturated fat to help in lowering your cholesterol levels.
  • Avoiding alcohol is must. If your heart failure is caused by alcohol, its especially important that you dont drink any alcoholic beverages.

Lower Fat And Cholesterol

Diet to Live Well with Heart Failure

Studies have shown that the rate of heart failure is lower in people who follow a DASH diet , which centers on consuming polyunsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates like brown rice, low amounts of saturated fats, and fruits and vegetables.

Saturated fat and cholesterol can lead to other cardiovascular issues like atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries. To reduce that risk, eliminate butter, shortening, and margarine, and consume limited amounts of olive, peanut, and canola oils.

To lower your fat intake, avoid fatty cuts of meat, remove the skin from poultry, and consume more fish. Replace high-fat dairy with low-fat or nonfat options, eat whole grains for their high fiber content, and limit condiments and salad dressings that are high in fat and sodium. When preparing your food, avoid frying, and choose to bake, broil, poach, boil, or steam instead.

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Use Less Sodium Or Salt

Eating too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, a leading cause of cardiovascular disease.

Using herbs and spices instead of salt can replace the flavor that is lost from salt. Different herbs and spices also contain various antioxidants which may provide health benefits. For example:

  • Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics
  • Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a component which may help reduce appetite
  • Ginger has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties

Although these benefits are likely to be small, they make for a healthier overall diet when combined less salt being used.

Why Is Diet Important For Heart Failure

Diet is critical in the treatment of heart failure. Limiting sodium is typically recommended to limit fluid buildup. But some other nutrients or substances also play a role as well. Heart failure can become more severe if diet and medicine recommendations for heart failure are not closely followed. Medicine and diet therapy are most effective when used together in the treatment of heart failure.

Taking your medicines and following the diet your doctor has recommended for you will make it easier for you to breathe and help you feel better and be able to do more of your normal daily activities. A registered dietitian can help you make needed dietary changes by providing meal-planning guidelines that are realistic and specifically tailored to your individual needs and preferences.

Ask your doctor if a cardiac rehab program is right for you. Rehab can give you education and support that help you build new, healthy habits such as limiting sodium and eating heart-healthy foods.

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Can You Drink Coffee If You Have Congestive Heart Failure

According to recent studies, as noted by the American Heart Association, drinking one or more cups of caffeinated coffee may reduce the risk of heart failure. But other studies noted that drinking several cups throughout the day may not be safe. When in doubt, talk to your cardiologist and nutritionist about the amount of coffee you can drink.

Congestive Heart Failure Increases Fluid Retention

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With heart failure, your heart pumps less blood than it otherwise would if it was healthy, causing a decrease in blood pressure.

To compensate for reduced blood flow, your heart beats faster, your veins constrict, and your kidneys retain water to maintain proper blood circulation .

Over time, these compensatory methods to maintain proper blood circulation to your bodys tissues cause fluid buildup or congestion in and around organs such as the lungs, ankles, and feet.

This fluid accumulates gradually over time, causing shortness of breath and swelling in your lower legs. Your doctor may prescribe you medications to reduce fluid buildup, but eating the right diet can also help.

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Diet For Congestive Heart Failure Patients

To improve the patients health, the doctor recommends certain dietary changes that need to be followed lifelong.


Drink enough water is what everyone says to stay healthy and fit. Many people recommend drinking 8 glasses of water daily. However, this tip for health is not applicable to Congestive Heart Failure patients in the elderly. The reason is simple Water retention is common among Congestive Heart Failure sufferers, which many times causes swelling of arms and legs. So, it is obvious that the patient must keep a check on water intake to prevent the body from retaining fluids and swelling.

Saturated Fats:

Foods which has high fats such as processed meat, fried foods, chicken with skin, egg yolk, pastries, ice creams and cakes can damage your arteries and can cause you Congestive Heart Failure.


It can be asserted that moderate alcohol consumption resembles a healthy heart. Once again, this statement doesnt hold accurate for people detected to have Congestive Heart Failure. In fact, drinking alcohol is likely to cause much more damage to the heart muscles. Thus, be it the wine, whisky or beer, an individual must refrain from consuming these alcoholic beverages.


Do You Need Natural Health Products

You can usually get all of your vitamins and minerals by eating a heart-healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.

Your doctor might recommend a multivitamin/mineral supplement if you are undernourished or cannot completely meet your nutritional needs through food.

If you take a diuretic for heart failure, this medicine might change your dietary needs for potassium, magnesium, calcium, and zinc. Ask your doctor if you should take natural health products or eat certain foods to get enough of these minerals.

Fish oil supplements have been shown to help some heart failure patients. In some studies, fish oil supplements, taken along with other heart failure medicines, helped people stay out of the hospital and live longer.footnote 1

Talk to your doctor before you take any over-the-counter medicine or supplement. They are used along with medical treatments for heart failure, not instead of treatment.


If you take a diuretic, ask your doctor if you need to take a potassium supplement or if you need to watch the amount of potassium in your diet. If you take a loop diuretic or thiazide diuretic, your doctor may suggest that you get extra potassium because these medicines lower your potassium levels. But if you take a potassium-sparing diuretic, you might not need to get extra potassium in your diet.


Good food sources of magnesium include seeds, nuts, legumes, unmilled cereal grains, and dark green vegetables.

Calcium and zinc

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A Note On Weight Discrimination

Although studies often suggest that obesity is a risk factor for certain health conditions, they rarely account for the role weight stigma and discrimination play in health. Discrimination is one of the social determinants of health the conditions in daily life that affect our health and it can and does contribute to health inequities.

Meanwhile, experiences of weight stigma in daily life, inside and outside of medical settings, are associated with negative mental and physical health outcomes.

Everyone deserves appropriate and compassionate medical care. If youre interested in finding weight-inclusive healthcare professionals, you may want to follow the work of the Association for Size Diversity and Health, which is developing a directory that will launch in summer 2022.


Your diet can either increase or decrease your risk of heart disease risk factors, including obesity, high blood lipid levels, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Diets rich in ultra-processed foods and added sugar can damage heart health and increase the risk of health conditions that contribute to heart disease development like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

However, other dietary patterns can help promote heart health and protect against heart disease.

Through decades of research, scientists have narrowed down which diets are most associated with a healthy heart and low risk of cardiovascular disease.

When Checking Labels:

Congestive Heart Failure – Your Diet

Use the nutrition information included on packaged foods. Be sure to notice the number of servings per container. Here are tips for using this information.

  • Nutrient List The list covers nutrients most important to your health.
  • % Daily Value This number shows how foods meet recommended nutrient intake levels for a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Try to eat no more than 100 percent of total fat, cholesterol and sodium.
  • Daily Values Footnote Some food labels list daily values for 2,000 and 2,500 calorie daily diets.
  • Calories Per Gram Footnote Some labels give the approximate number of calories in a gram of fat, carbohydrate and protein.
  • Sodium Content Always check the sodium content. Look for foods with a sodium content less than 350 milligrams for each serving.

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When You Eat At Home

  • Reduce your salt gradually to give your taste buds time to adjust.
  • Instead of adding salt to food when you cook or eat, season foods with herbs and seasonings that do not have salt.
  • Avoid instant foods that come in a bag or a box.
  • If you must eat canned goods, rinse the foods before cooking and eating them.
  • When grocery shopping, choose items from the outer aisles, where most of the fresh foods are found.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time .
  • Make your own or choose low-sodium sauces.
  • Make salad dressing with fresh garlic, herbs, olive oil and flavoured vinegar.
  • Add seasonings to soups during the last hour of cooking for maximum flavour.
  • At the grocery store, choose items labelled no salt added or low sodium.

Finding Low-Sodium Recipes

1. Try a new cookbook:

The following associations offer low sodium recipe books:

  • Dietitians of Canada
  • American Heart Association

2. The Internet is an endless source of low-sodium recipes. Try searching for your favourite low sodium recipes. Use a search engine, such as Google, to find others.

  • Visit www.google.ca.
  • Type low-sodium recipe into the search screen.

Good websites to check out for recipes are:

Example of what to order when dining out:

  • Grilled steak or chicken
  • Salad with balsamic vinegar and oil on the side so you can keep the portion to a small amount
  • Steamed or roasted vegetables
  • Fruit salad or sorbet

How To Lower Salt Intake

Avoid adding salt to the cooking recipes and opt for natural salt replacements like lime juice to enrich taste. The gravy matter, especially in restaurant dishes is high in salt and bad cholesterol. Therefore, order foods which contains minimal amount of gravies. Also, when preparing food at home, avoid making gravies. Each packed food comes along with a content label that specifies its content per serving. If the food label signifies that the sodium content is less than 140 mg, then only buy that item.


Avoid Processed Foods:

Magnesium is truly one of the necessary vitamins and minerals for avoiding congestive heart failure. Individuals who consume commercially-processed foods face a higher risk of susceptible to heart failure, as an example food items that lack magnesium. Consequently, taking processed food should be avoided, to ensure that your body will not likely face inadequate magnesium.

Include Potassium:

It is necessary to increase the intake potassium in your diet as it regulates blood pressure levels, which enhances the health of your heart. Foods rich in potassium are bananas, peaches, potatoes, apricots.

Include Unsaturated Fats:

unsaturated fats are healthy for the heart and they must be included in the diet, also these foods help in lowering down the cholesterol level, thus they improve your health. Vegetable oil, nuts fish are the rich sources of unsaturated fats.

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