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Dietary Meal Plans for Heart Attack Patients

A heart attack is a frightening brush with death. Yet, you can look forward to a healthy, fulfilling future with some modifications to your lifestyle. A study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health and published in "JAMA Internal Medicine" in 2013 showed that individuals who improved their post-heart attack diet were 40 percent less likely to die of heart disease compared to survivors who failed to adopt better nutrition habits 1. Work with your physician to develop a diet that fits your unique health needs.

General Guidelines

After your first heart attack, you have an increased risk of a second attack, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Therefore, it's essential that you begin a heart-healthy diet as soon as you get home from the hospital. You should eat meals rich in low-fat protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy. Limit your intake of sodium, which can increase your blood pressure, and saturated and trans fats, which can cause plaque to form in your arteries. Opt for low-cholesterol foods to keep your cholesterol levels in check. You should also increase your intake of potassium, calcium and magnesium, according to the Cleveland Clinic 3.

  • After your first heart attack, you have an increased risk of a second attack, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
  • Therefore, it's essential that you begin a heart-healthy diet as soon as you get home from the hospital.

Heart-Healthy Breakfasts

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Unfortunately, breakfast favorites such as bacon, eggs and hash browns are very high in sodium, fat and cholesterol. You can still enjoy traditional morning fare with some modifications. Make an egg-white omelet with low-fat cheddar cheese and low-sodium turkey bacon. Instead of potatoes, toast a piece of whole-wheat bread and smear it with a bit of sugar-free jam. On busier mornings, pour a bowl of high-fiber cereal with skim milk and berries.

  • Unfortunately, breakfast favorites such as bacon, eggs and hash browns are very high in sodium, fat and cholesterol.
  • On busier mornings, pour a bowl of high-fiber cereal with skim milk and berries.

Low-Sodium Lunches

Deli meats have a heavy sodium content, so you'll have to rethink sandwiches a bit. Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with all-natural peanut butter and low-sugar jelly on whole-grain bread, or stuff a whole-wheat pita pocket with low-sodium, low-fat cottage cheese and fresh tomatoes. Eat carrot sticks, celery or a fresh piece of fruit on the side. Another option is a fruit and yogurt parfait with low-fat plain yogurt, berries and low-fat granola.

  • Deli meats have a heavy sodium content, so you'll have to rethink sandwiches a bit.
  • Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with all-natural peanut butter and low-sugar jelly on whole-grain bread, or stuff a whole-wheat pita pocket with low-sodium, low-fat cottage cheese and fresh tomatoes.

Diet-Friendly Dinners

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Many of your favorite dinner recipes can be modified to fit the heart-healthy guidelines. For instance, make spaghetti and meatballs with whole-grain pasta and ground turkey in place of beef. Or, make a hearty salad with grilled salmon instead of steak. Use beans for protein instead of fatty meat. You can make a tasty burger with ground black beans in place of beef. Opt for the leanest possible cuts of meat, and eat vegetarian meals at least once each week.

  • Many of your favorite dinner recipes can be modified to fit the heart-healthy guidelines.
  • You can make a tasty burger with ground black beans in place of beef.
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