Choose Better Fats

Unsaturated fats are better for your heart than saturated or trans fats. Some foods that are higher in unsaturated fats are:

  • Cooking oils, like vegetable oil, olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil and corn oil
  • Nuts or nut butters
  • Seeds, like pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • Avocado
  • Fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, trout and herring

Reduce Unsaturated Fats

Saturated fats and trans fats can raise certainm cholesterol levels in your blood, which can raise your risk of heart disease. Some ways you can reduce the unsaturated fats you eat are:

  • Switch to lean proteins, like chicken, turkey, fatty fish, soybeans and tofu
  • Bake, grill, poach or broil your lean proteins
  • Switch to fat-free (skin) or low-fat (1%) dairy
  • Switch to low-fat or fat-free versions of cheese or enjoy a small amounts of full-fat cheeses
  • Use a liquid plant-based oil, like olive oil, whenever possible for baking or cooking Switch from butter to a trans fat-free tub margarine

Some foods that are higher in saturated fats are:

  • Chicken skin, beef, sausage, bacon and lamb
  • Whole milk or 2% milk
  • Butter
  • Full-fat cheese
  • Coconut oil or palm oil

Get Rid of Trans Fat

Getting rid of trans fat from your diet is a good way to keep your heart healthy. Reduce the amount of the following foods from your diet so you can get rid of trans fat.

  • Fast food
  • Fried food
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Any product with partially hydrogenated oil or the word hydrogenated in the ingredients. Trans fats are sometimes found in store bought, boxed or ready-to-cook desserts and baked goods. You can also find them in packaged snack foods like crackers and popcorn.

Eat More Fiber

Fiber keeps your heart healthy and helps keep you full. Eat more of the following foods to add fiber to your diet.

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans and legumes
  • Whole grains

Eat Less Salt

Many people eat more salt than their bodies need. Here are ways you can reduce the amount of salt in your diet and keep your heart healthy.

  • Choose foods with fewer than 140 mg of sodium per serving
  • Do not add salt to food when you cook or eat
  • Season foods with spices and herbs

Rev. 12/2014. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.