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A Heart HEALTHY Diet

  • Choose fresh, whole foods when you can instead of boxed or canned foods.
  • Read food labels to choose low sodium or salt-free options.  If the food label lists more than 300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving, choose a lower sodium item.
  • Aim for less than 600 mg sodium per meal or less than 2,400 mg sodium per day.
  • Avoid adding salt or spices with salt to foods when cooking or at the table.
  • Choose salt-free herbs and spices.

Heart-Healthy Eating: Label Reading Tips

Look for the following on the food label:

Nutrition Facts sample label

Dietary fiber

Aim to get 25 g to 30 g dietary fiber each day. To meet this goal, include foods with at least 5 g fiber per serving.

Serving size

All the information on the label about calories and nutrients is for one serving. If you eat more than one serving, you get more calories and nutrients.


Choose foods that help you get the nutrients you need without going over your daily calorie goal. (Too many calories leads to weight gain.)

Total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat

Choose foods with less than 5 grams (g) of total fat per serving. For someone who needs to eat 2,000 calories per day, 50 g to 75 g per day is a good range. Try to pick foods with heart-healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats).

Choose foods with less than 3 g per serving of saturated fat and trans fat. (These are not heart-healthy.) A person who needs to eat 2,000 calories per day should eat no more than 15 g of saturated fat and trans fat (combined) in one day.

Read ingredients. If a food contains partially hydrogenated oils, then it has trans fat. (If it has less than half a gram per serving, the label may still say trans-fat-free.)


Look for foods that are low in sodium. Each day, eat less than 2,400 milligrams sodium (or the limit set for you by your health care team).

Total carbohydrate and sugars

If you have high triglycerides, choose foods with less than 30 g total carbohydrate and less than 15 g sugar per serving.
Copyright © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This information may be duplicated for client education.