The Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute recommend the Mediterranean diet due to its proven cardiovascular benefits. Eating heart healthy means eating:

  • Mostly fruits, vegetables, grains, olive oil, and nuts.
  • Some fish and poultry.
  • Minimal dairy products, red meat, processed meats, and sweets.

Learn more about the Mediterranean diet.

To help you follow a heart healthy diet and make it easy for you – we have many delicious recipes on our website. To help guide our selections, all recipes meet the Go! Foods® criteria. Try some of our tasty healthy recipes for meals, snacks, side dishes, and desserts.

All Go! Foods® meet these nutritional criteria:

  • Less than 4 grams of saturated fat per serving*
    Reason: Saturated fats turn on genes that cause inflammation and hardening of the arteries and are associated with higher bad LDL cholesterol levels. This increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and some cancers.
  • 0 grams of Trans Fat
    Reason: Trans-fat increases bad LDL cholesterol and decreases good HDL cholesterol, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke. Although trans-fat is found in small amounts in some meats and dairy products, most is consumed in the form of hydrogenated oils, which are added to stabilize products and lengthen shelf life. Products that claim to be “trans- fat free” have less than 0.5 grams per serving. At Cleveland Clinic, we believe that no amount of trans-fat is acceptable and have eliminated trans-fat altogether.
  • Less than 4 grams of sugars and syrups per serving**
    Reason: Additional sugar translates to empty calories and also causes blood sugar to fluctuate. High blood sugar increases your risks of kidney disease and all arterial aging diseases, including skin wrinkling, impotence, stroke and heart attack.
  • Only 100% Whole Grain
    Reason: Whole grains are a vital, high-fiber source of calories, nutrients and nourishing fats. High-fiber foods reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and selected cancers. They protect normal blood sugar and insulin function, and keep you feeling full longer. Women need about 25 grams and men generally need 35 grams of fiber per day. This is hard to achieve by eating refined breads, pastas and rice, from which the fiber has been removed.
  • Less than 800 milligrams of Sodium per serving
    Reason: High sodium intake is associated with high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke and worsening of kidney disease, heart failure and other conditions. The general recommendation is that no more than 2,300 mg of sodium should be consumed per day – about the amount in one teaspoon of salt.

*Exceeding 4g of saturated fat from whole foods such as avocados or fish is acceptable.
**Exceeding 4g of sugar resulting from naturally-occurring sugars from non-processed fruit and vegetable ingredients are acceptable.

Cleveland Clinic dietitians and wellness experts developed Go! Foods® to give you the green light so you’re sure you’re making the healthiest food selections. Our nutrition experts certify that recipes carrying the Go! Foods® label meet national nutritional guidelines. Cleveland Clinic’s Go! Foods® program makes it easier to find the most healthy food choices.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/30/2018.

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