Healthy eating to protect your heart

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What does a heart-friendly diet look like?

You might have heard that changing the way you eat can impact your health. But what about your heart specifically?

Poor diet is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease in Australia [1]. What you eat and drink impacts several heart disease risk factors, including:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Weight
  • Diabetes risk.

What does a heart-healthy eating pattern look like?

  • Enjoying a wide variety of foods focused on fresh and unprocessed food can be good for your heart.
  • A diet naturally low in unhealthy fats, salt and added sugar, and rich in wholegrains, fibre, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats is ideal.
  • Follow our 5-step heart-healthy eating pattern to help you achieve this balance.

    1. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruit and wholegrains

    Fruit and vegetables are some of the best foods for your heart, but most Australians aren’t eating anywhere near enough. These foods contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre and antioxidants, and have been shown to help prevent heart disease.

    Wholegrains are foods like brown rice, wholemeal pasta, grainy bread and oats. These foods are full of fibre and can help lower your cholesterol. Swapping from refined grains like white bread and white rice to wholegrain versions is a simple change that can improve your diet.

    2. Include a variety of healthy protein-rich foods

    Some protein-rich foods are better choices than others. The best options are plant-based proteins like beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds, as well as fish and seafood. These foods have been shown to reduce your risk of developing heart disease [2].

    Eggs and poultry are also protein-rich foods that can be enjoyed as part of a heart-healthy eating pattern.

    If you eat red meat, it’s best to limit it to 1-3 meals per week as research shows it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease [3].

    3. Choose unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese

    These foods don’t increase or decrease your risk of heart disease, but they can be an important source of calcium, protein and other minerals.

    Unflavoured versions with no added sugar are the healthiest options.

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