The Best Food Swaps for Heart Health


Looking after your heart is of paramount importance. With cardiovascular diseases on the rise, making small mindful choices in our diet can significantly impact our hearts well-being. Focussing on practical food swaps that promote heart health, reducing saturated fats, limiting sodium and looking for nutritious alternatives can all have a positive impact.

Understanding Heart Health and Nutrition

Our hearts, a vital organ, thrive on a balanced diet. Your diet should be rich in nutrients, healthy fats and whole grains. Conversely, diets high in saturated fats, excessive sodium and sugars can contribute to heart disease by raising blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and promoting obesity. Making simple swaps in your diet can help you look after your heart.

Swap Out Saturated Fat

Paying attention to the types of fat you use when cooking can bring you some quick wins. Using unsaturated fats, and cutting back on saturated fats can help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Replace butter, goose fat and ghee with unsaturated oils like olive, sunflower or rapeseed. You can also look to use spreads made from these.

When it comes to choosing your meats opt for 90/10 ground beef as an alternative to higher fat contents, and look for reduced-fat cheese, and lower fat milks or even plant-based ones.

Cut Down On Salt

Too much salt can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure. When using ingredients like soy sauce, or stock, replace these with reduced-salt or light versions where possible.

Remember, you don’t always need to add salt, even if a recipe calls for it – give it a taste first and see if you need it.

Opt For Wholemeal

Most of us could do with some extra fiber in our diets, so swapping white starchy carbohydrates for wholegrain versions can give you a boost. Easy swaps are wholegrain pasta instead of plain, and brown rice instead of white.

You can even find wholegrain versions of most breads, not just the sliced versions. You’ll be surprised to see wholegrain pitas, tortillas and more. And if you’re someone who likes to bake their own bread why not try swapping your regular flour for a wholegrain version.

Whilst you don’t need to switch out all your carbs for a wholegrain version, especially if you don’t like the way they taste, increasing your fiber can be a great way to improve your heart health in the long term.

Eat Your Vegetables

When it comes to being healthy, vegetables always rank highly on the list of things you should do. Vegetables add more vitamins, minerals and fiber to your plate, as well as color and flavor! It’s also a great way to add some extra volume to your meal (useful when dieting) and increase the satiety of your dish.

Remember vegetables don’t have to be fresh to be beneficial, why not stock up some of your favorite frozen ones for a quick addition to your meals. We love stirring frozen peas and sweetcorn into our rice, or even putting some frozen spinach in our favorite smoothie!

Be Mindful of Portion Sizes

When it comes to plating your food, fill up half your plate with vegetables, fruit or a leafy salad before you add anything else. This will help you limit your portion sizes, reducing the overall calories of your meal but without making you feel like you don’t have enough food.

You can also consider different versions of your favorite foods, if you love tacos, you can try our taco salad bowl instead. If you love sour cream on your fajitas why not try low-fat greek yogurt instead. By being mindful about portion sizes, and making some easy, healthy food swaps you can improve your heart health without sacrificing your enjoyment of food.

Limit Red Meat

Red meat doesn’t need to be avoided, but it should be limited where possible. The American Heart Association recommends swapping red meat for lean poultry (chicken, turkey) and fish where possible.

You can even try substituting red meat in recipes for lower fat options, e.g. a bolognaise can work just as well with ground turkey as it does with beef.


Whilst it might not be a food swap, exercise really does have a big impact on your heart health. Walking more, cycling, running or any sport that raises your heart rate will improve your cardiovascular health.

Not only does exercise help your heart directly, but studies show that regular exercise lowers stress which can also have an impact on your heart. So whatever sport you enjoy, from tennis to zumba, make sure to take some time in your week for it – your heart will thank you.

Wrap Up

As you can see, looking after your heart doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s all about simple, sustainable swaps and being mindful about portion sizes. If you’re looking for some great tasting healthy recipes then we’ve got you covered, and if you’re new to working out our at home exercise plan will have your heart jumping for joy!

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