Nutrition after a heart attack: how to cook food, banned foods

From this article you will learn: what diet should be followed after a heart attack, the role of proper nutrition for the health of the cardiovascular system. Useful and harmful products after a heart attack.

Contents of the article:

  • How to cook
  • Mediterranean diet
  • DASH-diet
  • Prohibited products

Postponed myocardial infarction significantly increases the risk of developing a repeated heart attack. Scientific research has shown that a rational and healthy diet can greatly reduce this risk.

A typical diet is rich in animal fats, digestible carbohydrates and preservatives. It is proved that the combination of these products is to a certain extent responsible for the development of repeated myocardial infarction, as well as other diseases, including some malignant tumors.

Patients who have had a heart attack are advised to follow a Mediterranean diet or DASH diet.

Observance of the Mediterranean diet leads to a reduction in blood cholesterol and a decrease in blood pressure, which are one of the main risk factors for the development of a second heart attack and stroke.

DASH-Diet( Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a balanced diet that was specially created in the US to reduce high blood pressure. It also reduces the levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood. According to scientific research, DASH-diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 20%, coronary heart disease by 21%, stroke by 19%, heart failure by 29%.

Both these diets also contribute to the normalization of weight, which is very useful for the rehabilitation of patients after a heart attack. A nutritionist or a cardiologist should make a plan useful for the health of the heart.

How to prepare food

The diet after a heart attack should not contain fried or deep-fried dishes. You can use more heart-friendly methods:

  • steaming,
  • cooking in water,
  • quenching,
  • baking,
  • cooking in the microwave.

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet includes traditional rules for healthy eating of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea - Italy, France, Greece and Spain. The cuisine in these countries is slightly different, but the food ration in them is based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, olive oil and fish. Compliance with this diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by 30%.

There is no strict list of permitted or prohibited products in the Mediterranean diet. It is the basis for daily healthy nutrition, which is based on the following principles:

  • Maximize the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
  • Limit the use of red meat, replacing it with fish and poultry.
  • Instead of animal fats, you can use olive oil.
  • Limit the use of processed foods that contain a lot of salt and saturated fats.
  • . Do not eat a lot of dairy products, give preference to their non-fat types.
  • Do not add salt to the dishes at the table - it already is in the food.
  • You can have a bite of fruit or unsalted nuts, not buns, chips, cakes or biscuits.
  • Drink red wine while eating, but not more than 2 small glasses a day.
  • Water is the best non-alcoholic beverage.
  • Food is better taken 5-6 times a day, but in smaller portions.

Ingredients of the Mediterranean diet:

Vegetables and fruits

Doctors recommend eating at least 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. They are rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins, especially vitamin C, which helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.


It is better to eat whole grains, for example whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice. These foods provide the body with carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Helps reduce cholesterol in the blood, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fish and seafood

White fish( cod, flounder, hake, halibut) is a good source of protein with low fat content. Seafood( shrimps, crabs, lobsters, mussels) contain proteins and some important trace minerals. Oily fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and D. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of repeated myocardial infarction.


Includes beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas, which are a useful basis for the preparation of soups and stews. They provide the body with proteins, carbohydrates, fiber and vitamins. The consumption of legumes is associated with a reduction in the risk of heart disease.

Fats and vegetable oils

To replace saturated fats of animal origin, vegetable oils rich in monounsaturated fatty acids are used. Traditionally, we recommend olive oil.

Useful monounsaturated fatty acids are also found in olives, nuts and avocados.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts( almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts) and seeds( pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy) provide the body with proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and also rich in useful unsaturated fatty acids.

Do not eat salted seeds, since salt can increase blood pressure.

The consumption of seeds in large quantities can cause obesity, since they contain a lot of fat.

White meat

Low-fat chicken, turkey and other avian meat is rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Before use, it is better to remove all skin and any visible fat.

When white meat is part of ready-made food( pies, shaurma, hamburgers), it contains much more fat and is not healthy.


Red wine contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances that protect the heart from diseases.

Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages is harmful to health, therefore it is not recommended to drink more than 2 small glasses( 125 ml) of red wine per day.

Milk products

Contain proteins, vitamins A and B12, calcium, saturated fatty acids. It is better to eat milk products with low fat content( mozzarella or feta cheese, skim milk, the use of milk products is limited to two portions a day)

Red meat

Beef, pork and lamb are rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, but these types of meat contain a lot of saturated fat. Meat is limited 1 time per week


Contains fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, but potato is rich in starch, which increases the risk of diabetes.boiled or baked Potato consumption is limited to three servings per week

Sweets and desserts

You can eat only occasionally in small quantities because they are rich in sugar and saturated fatty acids

In the Mediterranean diet, the consumption of sweets or desserts is limited to three servings per week


DASH-diet was developed by the National Institute of Health of the United States to reduce blood pressure. Its principles are very similar to the Mediterranean diet, with the exception of small differences.

DASH diet after myocardial infarction recommends the use of:

  • Fruits and vegetables - as an important source of fiber, potassium and magnesium.
  • Whole-grain products - as an important source of energy and fiber.
  • Low-fat dairy products - as a source of calcium and protein.
  • Birds and fish are both a source of protein and magnesium.
  • Nuts and beans - as rich sources of energy, fiber, protein and magnesium.
  • Non-tropical vegetable oils - as a source of unsaturated fat.

Consumption limited:

  • saturated and trans fats,
  • sodium,
  • red meat,
  • sweets and sweetened drinks.
Click on photo to enlarge

Prohibited products

The diet after myocardial infarction should reduce the risk of a second heart attack. To do this, the diet should not include products that increase blood pressure, increasing the level of cholesterol and blood sugar.

Prohibited and restricted products:

Name Characteristic
Processed products Salts, nitrates and other preservatives are used for the treatment of products. These include sausages, sausages, hams, grilled chicken and other products. High levels of preservatives and salt harm the health of the heart.
Refined carbohydrates Refined carbohydrates are found in white bread, white rice, sweets. A high degree of processing of these products removes most of the useful substances, such as fiber, minerals, phytochemical compounds, fatty acids. In addition, when processed, trans fats, sodium and sugar can be added to them, which are harmful to the health of the heart.
Sweetened drinks Contain a large number of easily digestible carbohydrates
Saturated and trans fats Increase blood cholesterol levels, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Sodium Promotes increased blood pressure. The recommended intake of sodium is 1,500 mg per day, this amount is less than ¾ teaspoon of salt. Replace the salt with various spices.
Cholesterol Cholesterol, found in red meat, fatty milk products, can increase blood cholesterol levels.