A cardiac diet is simply a diet that is healthy for your heart. It includes an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits in addition to lean protein, low-fat dairy, low sodium intake, heart-healthy oils, and the elimination of additives and preservatives. The best cardiac diet will include a daily exercise regimen that is age and weight appropriate and proper self-care.
The trouble is that one type of cardiac diet will not work for everyone. There are secondary or underlying conditions that can affect the food choices we make. That’s why we’re aiming to cover multiple types of cardiac diet so you can get a better feel for how eating right for your heart can fit into your life.
What Does the Cardiac Diet Consist Of?
The cardiac diet consists of food that is healthy for your heart and body. When you talk about heart health, it’s about more than the physical condition of the organ. The foods we eat contribute to the elasticity and condition of veins and arteries. They alter blood pressure, which then affects how hard the heart must work, and these are just a couple of the ways food plays a critical role in your heart health.
The foods that are generally safe on a standard cardiac diet are:
- Lean protein
- Low-fat or nonfat dairy
- Healthy oils
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
A cardiac diet doesn’t contain added salt and sugar, additives, preservatives, flavor enhancers, hydrogenated oils, chemicals, or anything you can’t pronounce.
It will include an exercise regimen appropriate for your age, weight, and physical conditions, including any health issues you may have.
As with all dietary regimens, you should drink plenty of clean water every day. According to research published in Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives, water intake is vital for many health processes, including general heart health. However, more research is needed to determine just how much clean water individuals should be consuming every day.
Nonetheless, research from the University of Delaware found that a state of hypohydration, or low body water, can impair cardiovascular and vascular health.
A heart-healthy diet is ideal for everyone – not just those with heart disease or other conditions. Noom can help you keep track of all your healthy choices.
Cardiac Diet Guidelines
The American Heart Association, or AHA, has cardiac diet guidelines that, if followed, should help maintain a healthy heart and a healthy weight for the general public.
Age-appropriate exercise is part of the equation for maintaining a healthy heart, but it should be tailored to your weight and general physical condition. And, you don’t have to exercise like you’re preparing for an IronMan competition because too much may cause more harm than good.
The AHA cardiac diet guidelines encourage the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, mainly green leafy vegetables. This is because green leafy vegetables contain carotenoids. Carotenoids are phytochemicals that “have been postulated to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation,” according to research published in the scientific journal Nutrients. Both of which negatively affect heart health.
The guidelines stress the importance of lean meat and meat alternatives such as beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. According to research, “Increasing evidence… indicates that nut consumption may confer protection against [cardiovascular illness] via lowering of oxidative stress, inflammation, and improvement in endothelial function. Nut components, such as unsaturated fatty acids, l-arginine, beneficial minerals, phenolic compounds, and phytosterols, appear to be of paramount importance for their health effects.”
However, if you love your meat, you can still have it and enjoy heart benefits. Research in the Journal of Human Hypertension reports that lean beef is perfect for a heart-healthy diet like the cardiac diet.
Low-fat dairy has been clinically proven to have a beneficial effect on heart health and blood pressure. For instance, research shows that “intake of low-fat dairy products was inversely associated with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.” However, we have to note that there’s research that claims there’s no difference between how the body reacts to low-fat versus high-fat dairy.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shared that “Despite concerns that the high-saturated-fat content of full-fat dairy products would promote heart problems, recent meta-analyses show that dairy consumption is neutral or beneficial for weight control,” heart health, and other medical concerns.
Healthy oils, such as olive oil and canola oil, should be used rather than saturated fats such as butter and lard. According to research provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this is because “Your body needs healthy fats for energy and other functions. But too much saturated fat can cause cholesterol to build up in your arteries (blood vessels). Saturated fats raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol increases your risk for heart” issues increases.
What makes for a healthy oil? Healthy oils tend to be very low in saturated fats and higher in unsaturated fats, predominantly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are proven to support heart health and healing. The research found palm oil could be a good addition to a heart-healthy diet.
They are packed with fat-soluble vitamins that double as antioxidants. Antioxidants play a critical role in heart health.
Processed and convenience foods such as cookies, chips, and crackers should be avoided. In 2019, researchers published an extensive cohort study of more than 100,000 people’s eating habits to see if there was a connection between super-processed foods and heart-related medical conditions. On average, participants were followed for a little over five years. In the British Medical Journal, results showed that diets higher in “ultra-processed food were associated with a higher risk of overall cardiovascular,” coronary, and cerebrovascular health problems.
Consume alcohol in moderation. This may sound like it’s in direct opposition to some suggestions that claim red wine is good for the heart, but the keyword here is moderation. And yes, while studies show improvements or support for heart health associated with red wine, some researchers aren’t sold on the idea.
According to the Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies, “this association was not observed in studies of those age 55 years or younger at baseline, in higher-quality studies, or in studies that controlled for heart health. The appearance of cardioprotection among older people may reflect systematic selection biases that accumulate over the life course.”
You also want to keep an eye on your average salt intake. Many years of clinical research have resulted in a positive correlation between salt intake and blood pressure. It has been thought that if you eat tons of salt, your blood pressure will be higher. That’s not exactly how the human body works because some people eat high-salt diets and never experience chronically elevated blood pressure. In fact, research found that reducing salt intake may not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or blood pressure.
However, if you already have higher blood pressure or are at increased risk of developing higher blood pressure, it may help keep your average intake below 2500mg daily.
Cardiac Diet Meal Plan
Your cardiac diet meal plan doesn’t need to be bland or unappealing, but it does have to be mindful of the impact certain foods have on heart health, either directly or indirectly. You see, certain food groups have been shown in research to negatively impact heart health. You want to steer clear of these food groups while increasing the foods you eat from groups that promote a healthy heart.
Without a doubt, grains are at the top of the list for heart-healthy breakfast meals. Things like oatmeal, flaxseed, and chia seed are packed with such good nutrition; it almost feels like a crime to leave them out of your cardiac diet plan. But, that’s not the only reason breakfast is important in a cardiac diet. Researchers from The Japan Public Health Center have found that people who eat breakfast are at a decreased risk of certain heart-related conditions.
- Oatmeal – First, let’s look at oatmeal. Research reveals that people who choose oatmeal for breakfast also tend to consume better nutrients and better overall diet quality than people who don’t partake in oatmeal.
- Eggs – Yes, eggs contain cholesterol, and many heart-healthy diets are designed to lower cholesterol intake, but eggs get a bad rap. It looks like there’s something about eggs the body likes because studies show eating eggs can actually improve inflammation. Some research says one egg a day is enough, and some research claims two eggs a day is a better choice. A choice that may be more effective than the oatmeal we just mentioned.
- Cereal – When choosing a cereal for your cardiac diet, consult the nutrition label to weed out the bad seeds. Skip any cereal with added sugar, which supplies no nutrition, only added calories. You also want a high-fiber product. Fiber consumption “is inversely associated with risk of coronary heart [problems], especially for fiber from cereals and fruits,” as per a research published in Clinical Nutrition.
- Whole grains and dried beans – We know whole grains are heart-healthy and dried beans are heart-healthy, but research has also shown that these foods may have a “synergistic effect that could provide significant health benefits.” We realize you may not want beans for breakfast, so add them to lunch or dinner a few days a week.
From the start of the cardiac diet, you may have noticed you’re not as hungry at lunchtime as you were before. Both lean proteins like eggs and fiber from cereals and grains digest more slowly than simple carbohydrates. The food you ate at breakfast is likely keeping you fuller, longer. But, now that you’ve reached lunch, you need another punch of lean protein and fiber to keep you feeling full throughout the day.
- Beans – Remember that synergistic effect we just talked about? Here’s where you can incorporate beans into your diet. You can try something as complex as a bean salad or as simple as hummus or seasoned chickpeas. According to one study that was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Intervention and prospective research suggests that diets that include beans reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, favorably affect risk factors for metabolic syndrome, and reduce risk of ischemic heart [problems].” If you’re worried about adding beans to lunch because of intestinal discomfort, gas, or bloating, cook your beans instead of using a canned variety. You can naturally decrease these effects if you soak your beans overnight in plenty of fresh water, drain and rinse the beans before cooking in high-alkaline water. You can find high-alkaline water in your local market, or you can add a bit of baking soda to the cooking water.
- Lean protein partnered with healthy fat – There’s not a lot of fat in heart-healthy breakfast foods, so we need to add healthy fats throughout the day. Lunch is the perfect time because the satiating effects of fat combined with lean protein’s satiating effects help keep you fuller, longer. There are two drastically different ways to approach lean protein and healthy fats. You can partner a roasted chicken salad with a drizzle of olive oil, as an example. But, you can also throw together a nut butter (avoid added sugars) and fruit sandwich. Then again, something as simple as canned tuna with a little heart-healthy mayonnaise works too. A sandwich like this on whole wheat bread is the subject of on-going clinical research, including one study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition investigating its effects on appetite.
- Fruits and vegetables – According to research, “… fruit and vegetable consumption, are significantly associated with a lower risk of [coronary heart problems].” You can hardly go wrong, adding in any fruits and vegetables, but there are some with proven benefits. Berries, for instance, are rich in phytonutrients and fiber. Orange, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables are full of carotenoids, beta-carotene, and fiber. Green leafy vegetables are the most nutritious of all, and they provide quite a bit of, you guessed it, fiber.
Cardiac diets fit right into Noom’s weight loss program. We help you learn to choose the best foods for your health.
You’ve made it to dinner on your cardiac diet plan, so what’s on the menu as the day comes to a close? As you look over the suggestions for breakfast and lunch, you have a clear idea of how to choose foods for your cardiac diet menu. So, let’s go through a few specific foods with fantastic health benefits, including benefits for your heart.
- Avocado – rich in monounsaturated fats shown in research to help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
- Fatty fish – another rich source of unsaturated fats, but this time particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3s help reduce bad cholesterol.
- Cruciferous vegetables – the most recognizable cruciferous vegetables are cabbage, broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts, and cauliflower. These vegetables help prevent calcification in the heart. Calcification causes rigidity, which can lead to serious health implications.
- Potatoes – Potatoes are ideal for the cardiac diet for multiple reasons. First, potatoes contain something called resistant starch. This starch “may enhance satiety, positively affect body composition, favorably impact blood lipid and blood [sugar] levels, and increase the amount of good bacteria in the colon.” To get the most bang for your buck, bake your potatoes skin-on and chill overnight before eating cold or reheating the next day. This results in the highest resistant starch levels. If you’re worried about potatoes being unhealthy, that’s just a misnomer. Research shows that potatoes don’t increase the risk of heart-related health complications.
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, with the highest levels found in processed tomatoes. Research published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition suggests lycopene may help reduce “risk of stroke (26%), mortality (37%) and CVDs [cardiovascular diseases] (14%).” If you don’t like tomatoes, try other similarly colored fruits and vegetables. It’s the lycopene that gives tomatoes their red color. Other lycopene-rich fruits and vegetables include guava, papaya, grapefruit, watermelon, and red bell peppers.
- Garlic, leek, and onion – these allium vegetables are rich in polyphenols and exhibit significant antioxidant activity. Chronic inflammation is a common risk factor in heart conditions. The polyphenols help reduce this inflammation. As for the antioxidants, research published in Clinica Chimica Acta found that “oxidative stress plays a pivotal role in the development of human” health problems. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress, among other benefits.
- Coffee – you’re not the only one who loves that morning cup of coffee. According to research published in the journal Circulation, your heart likes it too. “Moderate coffee consumption was inversely significantly associated with CVD [cardiovascular disease] risk, with the lowest CVD risk at 3 to 5 cups per day, and heavy coffee consumption was not associated with elevated CVD risk.”
We couldn’t complete a cardiac diet meal plan without snacks. When you need just enough energy to get you through to your next meal, what are some of the healthier snack options?
- Nuts and seeds – In general, nuts and seeds can make for a great snack. However, research also shows it can benefit heart health. According to one study, “In 3 large prospective cohort studies, higher consumption of total and specific types of nuts was inversely associated with total cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.” The specific nuts used in this study include peanuts and walnuts.
- Popcorn – Popcorn is another healthy snack option, one that contains plenty of dietary fiber. In general, whole grain consumption has been associated with multiple benefits, like reducing the risk of hypertension and coronary heart disease, according to one study published in the scientific journal Antioxidants.
- Sugar Snap Peas – These peas are part of the Leguminosae family. Although certain vegetables are known to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health, the authors found little research showing this specific vegetable can aid in heart health.
- Kale Chips – There is plenty of research supporting the consumption of leafy green vegetables for improved health, so kale chips can easily be a great snack option for the cardiac diet. One study found that kale could reduce the risk of getting cardiovascular disease.
- Edamame – Edamame is also known as immature soybeans, heavily researched for their health benefits. According to research published in the scientific journal Nutrients, “The cholesterol-lowering effect of soy protein has generated much interest in the past and has been extensively studied, but other components in soy appear to confer significant cardiovascular health benefits despite receiving less attention over the years.” Another study found that “If this observation proves to be correct, soybean oil and full-fat soyfoods will be considered heart-healthy as a result of their fatty acid profile because as previously highlighted, the soybean is one of few foods that provide ample amounts of both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.”
- Olives – Although there isn’t much evidence on olives, specifically improving heart health, plenty of research supports the use of olive oil. In fact, one study published in BMC Medicine found that “Olive oil consumption, specifically the extra-virgin variety, is associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and mortality in individuals at high cardiovascular risk.”
Rather than chips and cookies, try a fresh vegetable tray made from in-season vegetables. Radishes, cherry tomatoes, red bell peppers, celery and carrot sticks, and some zucchini strips can provide a tasty, nutritious snack. Add some heart-healthy dip if you want, but only a small amount.
Nuts, nut butter, dried or fresh fruit, cheese, whole grain unflavored crackers, smoothies, or air-popped popcorn all make delicious heart-healthy snacks.
The only restriction on snack foods is that they are free of additives, preservatives, flavor enhancers, hydrogenated oils, excess salt, and added sugar. None of those things are right for your heart or your body.
Cardiac Diet Meals
Cardiac diet meals can be delicious and very satisfying, especially when you know you’re improving your heart health.
Imagine your ideal meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, and then adjust them so that they are low in unhealthy fats, low in salt, and free of additives and preservatives, especially sugar.
Your diet meals are limited only by your imagination and personal preferences.
If you dislike seafood, there’s no reason to eat it; you can substitute chicken or other protein forms. If you dislike a vegetable, then don’t include it in your meal plan.
To obtain the maximum results from your cardiac diet meals, set aside one day or one evening each week to plan your menu and your shopping list.
Then prep your meals for the week, including some that are ready to cook that you’ll freeze for emergencies.
You’ll save time and be happier when you’re able to skip the convenience foods or take out on those nights when you’re running late.
With Noom, no food is off limits, so you can customize your cardiac diet to your personal tastes. We teach you portion control and moderation so you can have all the things you enjoy and still reach your goals.
Cardiac Diet Menu
Be sure to plan your cardiac diet menu for the week so that you know what you’re going to fix and have the ingredients on hand.
This is the best way to avoid the temptation of take-out or fast food “just this once” and you’ll be glad you eliminated the temptation.
A variety of foods on your cardiac diet menu will eliminate boredom while keeping you healthy.
Combine brightly colored vegetables and attractively prepared proteins and pasta to achieve a meal with maximum visual appeal.
Remember how your meals were served in a restaurant so that you can plate your meals attractively.
Your cardiac diet menu plan should, in part, be predicated on the number of calories you expend in a day. If you consume more calories than you spend, you’ll gain weight, so you need to reduce your portion size if you want to lose weight.
Focusing on healthy foods and eliminating unhealthy foods can assist you in losing weight.
Some food additives are not only bad for you, but they can also be addictive, making you eat more of them than you need.
Adhering to a diet of fresh, healthy food that you prepare in your kitchen can keep you healthier and increase your longevity.
Cardiac Diet Plan
The cardiac diet plan emphasizes foods that support heart health as well as overall body health. Those foods that are healthy for your heart are also beneficial for all of your other organs too.
Your skin will look better when you eat fresh, healthy food rather than prepackaged and ready-made food.
Your immune system will be healthier because fruits and vegetables provide a significant boost to your immune system.
There is plenty of research supporting the consumption of fruits and vegetables for improved heart health. One study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that “Fruit and vegetable intakes were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality. These results support public health recommendations to increase fruit and vegetable intake for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature mortality.”
Cardiac Diet Restrictions
Americans eat lots of food that isn’t healthy due to preservatives, additives, added sugar, salt, and hydrogenated fats. Cardiac diet restrictions don’t allow these substances because the goal is to make your heart healthier.
Foods on the heart-healthy diet are fresh and freshly prepared. That doesn’t mean you can’t prepare a meal beforehand and freeze it for those nights that you are too tired to cook or don’t have the time.
Diet experts recommend always having a contingency plan so that you aren’t tempted by fast food and convenience foods that aren’t good for your heart or your body.
Cardiac Diet Types
Cardiac Healthy Diet
Heart-related issues are the leading cause of death in Americans. To avoid becoming one of those statistics, you need to eat a healthy cardiac diet.
This means the bulk of your dietary intake should come from fresh, wholesome food that you have prepared rather than the local fast food restaurant or the ready-to-eat section of your local market.
A healthy cardiac diet should be composed of fresh vegetables and fruits, low fat or nonfat dairy, lean meats, and alternative protein sources such as beans, nuts, legumes, and heart-healthy fats.
If you have an occasional splurge of ice cream or another treat, it’s not going to sabotage your efforts, but the treats should be occasional rather than frequent.
Cardiac Soup Diet
The cardiac soup diet is a fantastic method for losing a substantial amount of weight quickly. However, some claim that the diet lacks vital nutrients and should be followed only under supervision, and they are correct. One study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that soup consumption was associated with lower diet quality.
However, when it comes to weight-loss, the soup may help by decreasing the amount of food you eat. According to research published in the scientific journal Appetite, “The findings from this study confirm previous reports that consuming soup as a preload can significantly reduce subsequent entrée intake, as well as total energy intake at the meal.”
The backbone of the diet is a broth-based soup that is eaten every day for a week and other specific items.
The soup is made from beef broth, carrots, celery, green beans, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and soup mix.
- Day 1: Consume only soup and fruit.
- Day 2: You’ll eat soup, vegetables, and one baked potato.
- Day 3: Eat unlimited amounts of soup, vegetables, and fruit.
- Day 4: Add three bananas and skim milk. Eat unlimited amounts of soup, vegetables, and fruit.
- Day 5: Eat soup, tomatoes, and beef.
- Day 6: Eat soup, along with unlimited amounts of vegetables and beef.
- Day 7: Soup, brown rice, vegetables, and unsweetened fruit juice.
Ample amounts of water, at least six glasses, are recommended, and unsweetened cranberry juice is allowed. You can drink unlimited amounts of herbal teas, and black coffee is permitted.
Cardiac patients, particularly those scheduled for surgery, should only embark on this diet with a healthcare professional’s supervision.
Diet for Cardiac Patients
A healthy diet for cardiac patients is also a healthy diet for almost everyone. It’s focused on heart-healthy foods and stresses the importance of avoiding foods high in cholesterol, saturated fats, excess salt, sugar, additives, and preservatives.
In addition to healthy foods, cardiac patients’ dietary regimen should include regular exercise that is age and weight appropriate, and a daily caloric intake commensurate with daily energy expenditure.
It’s essential to recognize that the caloric expenditure for someone over 50 may be dramatically less than that of someone in their 20s even though their activity levels are similar.
The body’s metabolism usually slows as it ages, so adjusting your caloric intake can help maintain an ideal body weight.
Overall, it is important to consult your physician about your diet if you are a cardiac patient. According to research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality & Outcomes, “With the current obesity epidemic contributing to the slowed rate of improvement in CVD morbidity and mortality, dietary counseling has become increasingly important to improve overall cardiovascular outcomes. There is no “1-size-fits-all” diet, and clinicians should incorporate a shared decision-making strategy to find healthy and sustainable alternatives to which patients will adhere.”
Low Sodium Cardiac Diet
Excess salt intake can cause the body to retain fluid, which can precipitate or exacerbate heart failure. Although salt is an essential element in the body, many people consume far more salt than they need.
Even those who don’t add salt to their food can ingest too much sodium if they eat an abundance of processed food, fast food, and foods that contain additives and preservatives.
A low sodium cardiac diet is the same as a heart-healthy diet except that it emphasizes a lower sodium intake.
Most foods naturally contain some sodium. Processed foods such as deli meats, packaged foods, preserved meats like bacon, and canned foods have added salt.
Fresh foods are best but if you must eat canned food, be sure to buy “low salt” or “no salt added” foods and rinse them before eating them.
No matter which cardiac diet you want to work with, Noom can help you stick to it. Making healthy choices over the long term can be an uphill battle, but with our psychology-backed program, your habits will stick.
Mayo Clinic Cardiac Diet
Healthcare professionals at the Mayo Clinic recommend eight steps to ensure a healthy diet.
- The first step is to control your portion size. It should be appropriate to your age, weight, and activity level and accommodate any health issues, such as low-sodium or low-carb.
- The second step of the Mayo Clinic cardiac diet is to eat more fruits and vegetables. This will increase your fiber intake, make you feel fuller, and provide adequate nutrition so you’ll experience fewer food cravings.
- Opting for nutritious whole grains rather than refined white bread and pasta is the third step. This provides more fiber and keeps you feeling full for a more extended period.
- Limiting unhealthy fats is the goal of steps four and five. Step four emphasizes the selection of healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil.
- Step five concentrates on the selection of protein sources. Select lean meat when possible, and supplement your protein needs with plant-based sources and low-fat dairy.
- Step six recommends reducing your sodium intake.
- Step seven advocates meal planning so that you’re not tempted by take-out or fast food.
- Step eight stresses the importance of an occasional treat.
3-Day Cardiac Diet
The 3-day cardiac diet uses a severely restricted caloric intake to initiate a substantial weight loss quickly. Although designed to precipitate an initial rapid weight loss, those who have cardiac issues should consult their medical professional before embarking on the three-day cardiac diet. Not only does sudden, rapid weight loss stress the body, but this diet also may not be nutritionally adequate for some cardiac patients.
The allowed food list is minimal, and the meals are meager in calories. Each meal is designed around foods that will interact chemically so that you achieve the maximum weight loss possible for the diet; ten pounds in three days is the average.
The diet must be followed exactly as prescribed; no additions, changes, or subtractions should be made to be effective. After the three days, you can resume a regular, moderate diet for four days and then embark on the 3-day cardiac diet again but don’t use it successively without the interim four-day break.
The exact details of this diet will differ from one patient to the next. When you consult with your healthcare provider about adopting a very-low-calorie diet for weight loss, they will work with you to create the best menu for your personal growth.
Cardiac Diet Food List
There are plenty of foods individuals can eat while on the cardiac diet. These include:
- Brown rice
- Air-popped popcorn
- Unsaturated oils
- Salad dressing
- Vegetable oil spread
- Egg white
- Egg substitute
- Lean beef
- Lean pork
- Soy meat alternatives
- Dried beans
- Nut butter
- Fat-free milk
- Fat-free cottage cheese
All fruits and vegetables, both frozen and fresh, are also food options while on this diet. Although some canned vegetables are accepted, it is important to make sure they are low-sodium before purchasing and eating.
Some of the unsaturated oils available to consume include olive oil, peanut oil, soy oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil.
If you’re worried you’ll get bored following a cardiac diet, Noom’s meal plans can help. We have plenty of recipes to keep things interesting.
Bottom Line on the Cardiac Diet
When you begin eating fresh, natural food rather than the enhanced, salt-and-sugar laden foods that comprise the typical American diet, you’ll find a new appreciation for your heart-healthy goal.