Eating healthy foods can improve your overall health and can lower your blood pressure. When possible:
- Eat a mix of fresh vegetables and fruits
- Include low-fat dairy (skim or 1% milk), poultry (chicken, turkey), fish, beans, and nuts
- Choose wheat pasta, brown rice, and whole wheat breads
- Limit salt, sweets, sugary drinks, alcohol, and red meats
Being overweight increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and other health problems.
Even if your food choices are healthy, eating too much can cause you to gain weight! Choose healthy portion sizes.
Be Careful: A “serving size” is often much smaller than your “portion size” (or the amount you eat in a sitting). For example, the serving size for a bagel is about the size of a hockey puck (or half the size that is often sold).
If you are trying to lose weight:
- Lower the number of calories you are eating and drinking each day.
- Slowly lose weight through diet and exercise
- A good goal is to lose about 1 pound per week. Talk to your healthcare provider about a goal weight for you.
Image source: US Department of Agriculture
Tools that can help:
- The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan gives healthy serving sizes with low sodium choices.
- The MyPlate program gives tips for a balanced diet.
- Online food trackers and apps may help you follow your calories, sodium intake, and much more.
Million Heart® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center — From the Department of Health and Human Services: hundreds of healthy recipes, meal plans, and shopping lists
MyFoodAdvisor® Recipes for Healthy Living — The American Diabetes Association: healthy recipes and meal plans
American Heart Association Heart-Healthy Recipes — Heart healthy recipes
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Delicious Heart Healthy Recipes — Healthy recipes for different lifestyles
Disclaimer: You must consult your doctor to discuss any possible food allergies, intolerances, and/or sensitivities before starting a new diet/food program. Also consult your doctor if you have any underlying medical condition (such as, but not limited to: diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, transplanted organ, etc.) or medications before changing your food selection or starting a new diet and/or new eating program. Certain foods may cause severe illness, including, but not limited to, hospitalization and/or death if consumed with other medications or medical conditions. The nutritional, dietary, and consumptive information provided on the MyHEART site is for general information use only and not individualized for you or any other individual. This information should be discussed with your doctor before use.