There’s a lot of information out there regarding heart-healthy diets, but sometimes, the advice almost seems to contradict each other. You might see somewhere that you should eat a certain food, but another source may say to limit that food.

But when it comes down to it, there are a few simple rules to follow when you cut out all the noise in order to stay heart healthy.

Hammonton Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has a look at three rules to follow for a heart-healthy diet.

  1. Eat Fruits and Vegetables

Unless sugar is a concern with fruits, there are really no limits to the number of fruits and vegetables you can eat. That’s because they are low in fat and high in fiber. Good choices include leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, apples, bananas, oranges, pears, grapes, and prunes.

  1. Healthy Fats and Protein

Choose lean protein from white meat like chicken, turkey, and fish. Fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout, and sardines) can lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. Other healthy fats include avocado and nuts. Beans and other lentils are good sources of protein and fiber if you’re not a meat-eater.

  1. Whole Grains (Complex Carbohydrates)

All carbs aren’t bad, but you want to eat ones that also contain other nutrients. Simple carbs (white bread, white rice, white pasta) have all the nutrients stripped from them. Whole-grain bread, pasta, and brown rice have more fiber, protein, iron, and B vitamins.

Avoid Excess, Fat, Sugar, and Sodium

You’ll want to limit the obvious foods that aren’t good for you—sweets, sugary drinks, fatty or processed meats, salty foods, and highly processed foods in general. A good rule of thumb is when you’re at the supermarket, contain most of your shopping around the edges of the store—produce, fish, meat, and dairy (low-fat products are best). Go inside the aisles for staples like coffee, tea, and healthy cereals, oatmeal, and other whole-grain products, but limit shopping in these areas, as that’s where the processed foods lie.

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