Having a heart healthy diet should apply to both men and women except with the women the portions need to be a little smaller than what a man might have. You need to know what foods are beneficial for your cardiovascular system and how well it functions as well as what kinds of food can do you harm. You also need to be aware of and be able to include the other things that are heart healthy alone just foods in order to have a healthy heart.

You need to eat a variety of different foods that are good for your heart. This means that you need a lot of foods that are high in fiber as well as antioxidants. You should probably try to take in 25 to 30 grams of fiber on a daily basis. The best fiber to get is soluble fiber because this is the fiber that actually helps to remove cholesterol. Some of those foods would be:

  • Oats, barley and whole wheat
  • Brown rice
  • Legumes
  • Lentils
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Flax seed
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fruits and Veggies

You should also include a variety of plant ster foods. These kinds of foods according to the American Dietetic Association have the ability to lower your LDL or bad cholesterol. These can be found in the following foods:

  • Whole grains
  • Vegetable and corn oils
  • Avocados
  • Sunflower seeds

They are also added to the following products:

  • Orange juice
  • Yogurt drinks
  • Margarine
  • Snack bars

You also should include plenty of foods that contain omega 3 fatty acids. These are foods that are known to be high in antioxidants as well as ingredients that will help to lower your cholesterol. So eating fish like salmon, herring, trout, sardines and tuna (not packed in oil) are good for getting this important nutrient into your body.

Foods that you should try to avoid because they can be harmful to your heart and will increase your bad cholesterol are the following:

  • Organ meats
  • Red meats (without lean)
  • Whole fat dairy products (like whole milk for an example)
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Egg yolks
  • Processed food
  • A lot of fast foods
  • Deep fried foods
  • Commercially baked products like cakes, pies, energy bars and cookies all have trans fats in them

It's very important that when you go shopping that you make sure to read all of the labels. When you read and understand the food label you will find it easier to find the foods that are good for your heart and avoid the ones that are bad for your heart. Always remember that when you look at the ingredients that the item that is listed first means that this is what the main ingredient is in the product.

It's also important to note you could be buying extremely healthy foods and you might be making it unhealthy by the way you cook it and then you are just defeating the purpose so make sure that you cook your foods healthy as well and try to avoid frying them as much as possible.