Aspirus Clinics

Heart Nutrition


To help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, make sure to reduce your intake of unhealthy fats, including saturated fat and trans fat. You should include some healthy fats in your diet, including unsaturated fats and omega 3s.

Type of Fat Foods Heart Healthy?
Unsaturated Fat
  • Soybean, canola, olive or sunflower oils.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines.
  • Flaxseed oil, ground flaxseed.
Saturated Fat
  • Foods with fat from animals, including: fatty meats, whole milk, butter, cream.
  • Palm, palm kernel or coconut oil.
Trans Fat
  • All foods made with "hydrogenated" oil.
  • Often found in deep fried foods, cookies, crackers, chips, baked goods made with shortening.
How to limit the unhealthy fats using food labels:
  • Look for a product that has less than 3 grams of total fat per serving.
  • Limit saturated fat to 10 grams per day for women, 15 grams per day for men.
  • Always look for NO trans-fat on the food label.

Reducing Sodium

If you have high blood pressure, reducing your intake of sodium can help. In general, people with high blood pressure typically should eat less than 2400 mg of sodium daily, which is equivalent to a teaspoon. Your doctor or dietitian can tell you exactly how much sodium you should consume daily.

Tips to Cut Sodium:
  • Read the food label. Products with less than 300 mg of sodium per serving are okay to include in your diet.
  • Do not add extra salt to your food. Try salt substitutes, like Mrs. Dash.
  • Be careful when eating out. Restaurants and fast food places usually always offer higher sodium foods. Being mindful of portion size in these situations can help keep your sodium intake lower.
  • Canned products are higher in sodium. Choose low sodium soups and low sodium canned vegetables.
  • Boxed meals and convenience items are also higher in sodium. Make those foods only a part of your meal, not your whole meal.
  • Processed meats, such as hot dogs, brats, and sausages should be eaten infrequently.
  • Eat pickles, olives, and sauerkraut sparingly.
  • Watch out for salty snacks.


Fiber has many benefits. Increased fiber in the diet can help reduce the risk for heart disease. Fiber helps with blood sugar control. Fiber also helps us get from one meal to the next without feeling overly hungry in between.

Tips to help you increase your fiber intake:
  • Aim for about 25-35 grams of fiber per day.
  • Look for products that have 3 grams or more of fiber per serving.
  • Eat whole grain breads and cereals. Look for ‘100% whole wheat’ in the ingredient list.
  • Choose brown rice or wild rice instead of white rice.
  • Try a variety of grains, such as oats, barley, or quinoa.
  • Add dried beans and peas to soups or casseroles. Baked beans are also a good source of fiber.
  • Choose fresh fruits and vegetables more often than juice.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water during the day. Fluid helps your body process fiber better.