Choosing a Heart Healthy Diet

The foods below are recommended for people with congestive heart failure because these foods are typically low in salt, saturated fat and cholesterol. Learn to read food labels to help you choose more heart-healthy foods when you shop.

FruitsFresh, canned or frozen
VegetablesFresh or frozen (avoid sauce or flavor pouches, which add salt and fat)
Canned is OK if unsalted or rinsed
Meats, poultry, fishFresh or frozen fish (not breaded)
Canned tuna and salmon (unsalted or rinsed)
Chicken or turkey, both with the skin removed
Lean cuts of beef, veal, pork or lamb (trim away all fat)
Meat substitutesDried beans, peas, lentils (not canned)
Tofu (soybean curd)
Nuts or seeds (unsalted, dry-roasted), such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds and walnuts (Eat nuts in small amounts because they're high in fat and calories.)
Unsalted peanut butter
DrinksFruit juices, fresh, frozen or canned
Canned low-sodium or no-salt-added tomato and vegetable juice
Breakfast drink, powder or liquid (limit to 1 cup/day)
Lemonade (frozen concentrate or fresh)
Tea and coffee in moderation
Soy protein powder, soy milk
Dairy choicesLiquid or dry milk (1 percent, ½ percent, fat-free or nonfat)
Cottage cheese, dry curd (low sodium)
Low-fat or part-skim cheeses, such as ricotta and mozzarella
(Choose 2-3 servings of these low-fat dairy products per day.)
Fats, oilsUnsaturated vegetable oils like canola, olive, corn, cottonseed, peanut, safflower, soybean and sunflower
Low-sodium, low-fat salad dressing and mayonnaise
Unsalted margarine with liquid vegetable oil as first ingredient
(Use any of these in small amounts.)
Breads, cereals, grains, starchesPasta
Rice (enriched white or brown)
Starchy vegetables, such as corn, potatoes, green peas, etc. (not canned unless salt-free)
Loaf bread and yeast rolls
Homemade breads (with regular flour, not self-rising)
Melba toast
Matzo crackers
Pita bread
Taco shell, corn tortilla
Cooked cereals, such as corn grits, farina (regular), oatmeal, oat bran, cream of rice, cream of wheat (avoid instant cereals)
Puffed rice or wheat, shredded wheat (or any cereal with 100-150 mg of sodium (limit to 1 cup/day)
Wheat germ (in small amounts)
Unsalted, no-fat popcorn
Cooking ingredients, seasoningsCorn starch, tapioca
Cornmeal (not self-rising because of high salt content)
Fresh or dried herbs, salt-free herb seasonings
Flour - regular white or whole-wheat (not self-rising)
Fresh fruits and vegetables, such as lemons, limes, onions, celery, etc.
Fresh garlic or ginger
Louisiana-type hot sauce (limit to 1 teaspoon/day)
Low-sodium baking powder
Onion or garlic powder (avoid garlic salt)
Tomato paste, unsalted tomatoes, unsalted tomato sauce
Water chestnuts
Butter substitute (limit to 1/2 teaspoon/day)
SweetsCarob powder, cocoa powder
Flavored gelatins
Frozen juice bars, fruit ice, sorbet, sherbet
Sugar, honey, molasses, syrup (cane or maple)
Jelly, jam, preserves, apple butter
Graham and animal crackers, fig bars, ginger snaps

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