So it happened…the big MI. Myocardial infarction. Heart attack. The phrase “as serious as a heart attack” exists for a reason. This severe medical emergency could lead to death or lifelong health complications. You survived, but you’re not out of the woods quite yet.
You might still be reeling from what just happened to you. You keep thinking of the sterile emergency room, remembering the doctor’s serious voice explaining your condition and the persistent beeping of the heart monitor reminding you of just how close you came.
Your doctor likely sent you home with a pile of prescriptions and maybe even scheduled a date for you to return and get a stent. They probably didn’t send home a Heart Attack Recovery Diet Plan with your discharge papers.
If they did, it likely said to avoid red meat, eat whole grains, and stick to low-fat dairy. Are these diet recommendations based on scientific research? Is this really the best way to eat following a heart attack? Unsurprisingly, as with many things, the conventional medical approach is dangerously misleading.
In this article, we share the real heart attack recovery diet plan and delve into what you should actually eat (and avoid) to improve heart function following this major cardiovascular event.
Is diet important after a heart attack?
You might be wondering, “does diet really impact heart attack recovery?” Even though you survived your heart attack this time, you are at a much higher risk of having another one. Unfortunately, that second heart attack puts even more strain on your heart and increases your risk of dying from health complications.
Following a heart-healthy diet is one of the best ways to protect your cardiovascular system and reduce your risk of another heart attack. For example, it helps you lose weight (obesity is a major contributor to heart disease), reduces blood pressure, decreases inflammation, and helps keep your arteries clear.
Check out this article for more information on preventing another heart attack.
What to eat after a heart attack
What is the best diet after a heart attack?
Diet recommendations after a heart attack can be confusing. One source says to try a plant-based diet; another says to stick to the low-sodium DASH diet for heart health. To whom do you listen? These diets have different recommendations, so how can they all be healthy?
Short answer — they’re not. These diet plans are all about restriction, and they cut out essential nutrients your body needs to function. They are just temporary fixes intended to solve a lifetime of poor eating habits.
Here at NHD, we have developed the 100 Year Heart Diet — a revolutionary eating plan that embraces real, quality, whole food that nourishes and heals your heart.
Our eating plan isn’t something you stick with for three months to lose a couple of pounds or lower your blood pressure by a few points. Rather, it is a lifestyle change that will revolutionize how you approach food and help you stay out of the hospital and off dangerous pharmaceuticals.
Best foods to eat after having a heart attack
All of the foods in the 100 Year Heart Diet will support heart health; however, these are a few of the best foods to eat after having a heart attack:
- Wild-caught fish — This includes fish like salmon, trout, sardines, and mackerel.
- Organic vegetables — Prioritize leafy greens like kale, spinach, and arugula. Seaweed is also great for heart health!
- Organic nuts and seeds — Great sources of heart-healthy fat and fiber. Always choose raw varieties without any additional ingredients or salt. Nuts are usually salted with processed table salt that contains no beneficial nutrients (you can always add Himalayan salt or sea salt later).
- Organic avocado — Excellent source of heart-healthy fat, perfect for adding to smoothies or salads.
- Organic, pasture-raised eggs — Boosts beneficial HDL cholesterol and reduces inflammation. They have also been shown to reduce small, harmful LDL cholesterol levels.
- Olive and coconut oil — Loaded with free radical-fighting antioxidants that could reduce your risk of a heart attack.
- Grass-finished/pasture-raised organ meat — Rich in COQ10, vitamin B12, and folate, all essential for heart health.
- Organic herbs and spices — Ginger, garlic, turmeric, and Himalayan salt are just a few herbs and spices rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that support heart health.
- Seasonal fruit (in moderation) — Berries contain potent antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C. Enjoy berries in season and in moderation, as they contain lots of natural sugar.
The Ultimate Heart Attack Recovery Diet Plan
Spiced Kale and Eggs
Kale is a great source of nitrates, potassium, and magnesium. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and boosts blood flow. Pasture-raised eggs contain coenzyme Q10, choline, B6 and B12, and ribose — all essential for heart health.
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- 1 1⁄2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
- Whisk eggs, turmeric, and garlic in a bowl.
- Heat oil in a skillet.
- Add kale to a warmed skillet and cook over medium-low heat until slightly wilted.
- Add in the whisked eggs and herb mixture.
- Cook eggs until the desired doneness and serve.
Note: You can also add our Daily Defense shake to your breakfast! It is loaded with beneficial nutrients that support heart health and help keep you full until lunch. Always buy organic, pasture-raised eggs and organic ingredients.
Bowl of Beef Heart Stew
Beef heart contains key minerals, L-carnitine, vitamin B6, and coenzyme
Q10 to protect and strengthen heart muscle cells. Organ meats (like beef heart) support the body’s organs in an organ-specific fashion (i.e., heart helps the heart).
- 1/4 of a whole beef heart
- 1/2 cup beef bone broth
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/2 Tbsp ghee
- 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
- Cut the heart into 1-inch cubes—place in a small slow cooker or Dutch oven.
- Add the beef stock, ghee, and spices (except for the fresh parsley).
- Cook for 2-4 hours on high heat or until the desired doneness.
- Transfer the beef heart to a bowl. Top with the desired amount of “stew sauce.”
- Garnish with fresh parsley.
Note: Always buy grass-finished beef hearts and organic ingredients. If you don’t like organ meat, you can always enjoy another heart-healthy meal for lunch and try our Kick Start My Heart organ supplement to get those critical nutrients.
Turmeric Ginger Salmon Stir Fry
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating fish like salmon can help to improve heart health, lower blood pressure, and prevent blood clots.
- 1 1⁄2 Tbsp butter or ghee
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1/4 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1/2 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 tsp fresh dill, chopped
- 4.5 oz wild-caught salmon filet
- Combine all ingredients except the salmon in a small saucepan.
- Cook over medium-low heat for about one minute until flavors have melded. Stir sauce until combined.
- Place the salmon filet in a greased glass baking dish.
- Coat the salmon with lemon herb butter. Be sure to spread evenly over the top of the filet.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until salmon is cooked and flakes easily with a fork.
Note: Purchase wild-caught salmon and organic ingredients.
What foods to avoid after a heart attack
While eating quality food should be your top priority after a heart attack, you can’t ignore the elephant (or the bag of Cheetos) in the room forever. Removing unhealthy food from your diet following a heart attack is just as important as adding quality food.
Avoid these foods after having a heart attack:
- Anything with added sugar includes soda, coffee drinks, condiments, salad dressings, candy bars, desserts, and even bread. Read labels and remember that sugar hides under many pseudonyms, including corn syrup, fructose, and sucrose.
- Non-organic food is loaded with harmful chemicals that interfere with your recovery and damage your heart even more.
- Fast food contains unhealthy oils, trans fat, and processed ingredients.
- Packaged, highly-processed food — that bag of potato chips and frozen pizza must go.
- Processed grain (even whole wheat) is a sneaky source of sugar and can still spike blood glucose levels.
- Unhealthy fats include hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and polyunsaturated seed oils, such as canola, vegetable, and corn oil.
- Conventional red meat is factory-farmed and can negatively impact your heart health. This meat is loaded with harmful antibiotics and hormones. Plus, these animals are fed a steady diet of processed GMO grains, which contribute to inflammation.
Most of these foods are high on the glycemic index and will spike your blood sugar levels and contribute to inflammation — exactly what you don’t want when trying to recover from a heart attack.
Remember, no one ever has a heart attack for no reason. Unfortunately, your conventional cardiologist is likely to treat the symptoms instead of the underlying issues — increasing your risk for a subsequent attack.
To get real help that leads to lasting change and recovery, fill out this form and book an appointment with Dr. Jack Wolfson or one of the other expert practitioners here at NHD. They have access to some of the most advanced cardiac testing in the world and are committed to helping you achieve your 100 Year Heart.
Your heart attack doesn’t have to stop you from doing the things you love. In fact, it could be the catalyst that inspires you to change your diet for good.