After a heart attack, doctors may recommend that a person consumes heart-healthy foods to reduce the risk of recurrence. This can include a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
A doctor may refer a person to a dietitian to help ensure that they are getting enough nutrients. A dietitian can help them create an eating plan full of heart-healthy foods and recommend foods to avoid.
Read on to learn more about diet after a heart attack. This article looks at which foods to eat and avoid, whether a person should take supplements after a heart attack, and more.
To reduce the risk of recurrence after a person experiences a heart attack, the
While no specific diet can prevent or reduce the risk of another heart attack, the AHA does suggest that the Mediterranean diet and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet may be beneficial.
The Mediterranean diet involves focusing on fruits and vegetables and limiting the intake of red meat.
Learn more about the Mediterranean diet.
The DASH diet focuses on:
- whole grains
- skinless poultry and fish
- low fat dairy
Learn more about the DASH diet.
It is best for a person to contact their doctor for advice before making any significant dietary changes or if following a vegetarian or plant-based diet.
Doctors will typically recommend that a person consumes heart-healthy foods. This may be particularly important if a person has had a heart attack or is trying to prevent a heart attack.
According to the
A person may choose to consume fruits such as:
Whole grains for heart health can include:
- plain oatmeal
- whole grain bread
- whole grain tortillas
- brown rice
Consuming low fat or fat-free dairy products may be more beneficial than consuming full-fat alternatives. This can include low or no-fat versions of:
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends consuming foods rich in protein, such as:
- lean meats, including 95% lean ground beef or skinless chicken or turkey
- fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, or trout
- nuts and seeds
- soy products or tofu
- legumes, such as:
- black-eyed peas
- kidney beans
- lima beans
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
Consuming foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may benefit heart health. Examples include:
- oils, such as:
- olive oil
- canola oil
- corn oil
- sesame oil
- sunflower oil
- nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pine nuts
- seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds
- seed and nut butters
- certain fish, such as trout and salmon
Learn more about foods for a healthy heart.
- ultra-processed foods
- foods and drinks with added sugars, such as corn syrup and concentrated fruit juices
- processed meats
- foods high in salt
- alcoholic beverages
- tropic oils, such as coconut, palm, and palm kernel oil
- animal fats such as butter and lard
- partially hydrogenated fats
A person’s doctor or dietitian can provide more information about foods to reduce or eliminate from their diet after a heart attack.
Additionally, high doses of vitamins and minerals may not improve heart health. For example,
However, a 2022 review of studies found that various supplements reduced cardiovascular risks. More research is necessary, but examples of supplements that may be beneficial include:
- omega-3 fatty acid
- omega-6 fatty acid
- folic acid
- coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10
- vitamin D
- alpha-lipoic acid
It is best that a person contacts their doctor before taking supplements. The doctor can recommend whether the supplements are beneficial after a heart attack and advise on whether the supplements will interact with any medication the individual may be taking.
Aside from eating a heart-healthy diet, making
Steps a person can take include:
- getting enough physical activity or exercise
- maintaining a moderate weight
- managing conditions such as diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure
- reducing stress
- quitting smoking where applicable
Learn about heart attack recovery.
Diet can play an important role in reducing a person’s risk of a heart attack. If a person has already had a heart attack, consuming a heart-healthy diet
Learn more about heart attack prevention.
Here are some frequently asked questions about diets and heart health.
What is a cardiac diet menu plan?
A cardiac diet is an eating plan that aims to reduce a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and other heart conditions. It emphasizes
Can I eat eggs after a heart attack?
People who have had a heart attack need to pay attention to the
Studies have shown conflicting results about eggs and the risk of heart attacks, so it is best for a person to discuss their diet with a doctor.
A heart-healthy diet that comprises mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich foods may be beneficial after a heart attack.
A person may choose to follow specific diets such as the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet. It may also be beneficial to avoid certain foods, such as ultra-processed foods, foods high in salt, and foods and drinks with added sugar.
A dietitian can help a person create an eating plan to ensure they get enough nutrients while helping to look after their heart health.