The Top 14 Heart Healthy Foods for Men

If you’re overweight, inactive, or have a family history of heart disease, you have higher risk of developing heart problems in the future. Eating some of the best heart healthy foods for men and making healthy lifestyle choices is the best way to lower your heart disease risk and boost your life expectancy, so you can be there for your friends and family when they need you the most.

As a rule, choose:

  • Plant oils
  • Plant foods rich in dietary fat
  • Fish and fish oil
  • Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
  • Legumes, nuts, and seeds
  • Whole grains

Including the best heart healthy foods for men in daily meal plans is just the beginning. The Fit Father Project 30X (FF30X) is a healthy eating and exercise plan specifically designed for busy men over 40, and has helped thousands of men reach and maintain healthy weights to lower heart disease risks.

Try FF30X today or sign up for the Fit Father Project free 1-day meal plan or a free fat-burning workout to experience what living a healthy lifestyle feels like! Include the following heart healthy foods for men when developing daily menus:

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #1: Fish

Fish is loaded with protein, which boosts satiety and helps you shed unwanted weight and body fat. Maintaining a healthy weight significantly lowers your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Protein also helps you maintain lean muscle mass.

fish trout heart healthy foods for menAnother component of fish that protects against heart disease is omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in fattier fish, say researchers who conducted a review published in 2016 in Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine. The researchers suggest consuming at least two servings of fish weekly to reap heart-healthy benefits.

Fish rich in omega-3s include:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Herring
  • Halibut
  • Trout
  • Whitefish
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies

You can also obtain DHA and EPA from fish oil supplements.

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #2: Seaweed

There are numerous reasons seaweed, also known as algae or microalgae, protects you against heart disease. Like fish, it’s a source of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Seaweed is also a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants called polyphenols.

sea weed heart healthy foods for menA 2018 review published in Marine Drugs found that polyphenols found in marine plants, such as seaweed, improve heart-related conditions, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic disease risk factors.

The researchers say new medications made from marine plants may prove effective for heart disease and related conditions in the future.

Eat seaweed wrapped around sushi, on salads, in soups or casseroles, blended in protein smoothies, or as seaweed flakes with your favorite heart-healthy recipes. Vegan algae oil supplements are also a rich source of DHA and EPA .

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #3: Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are some of the best heart healthy foods for men because these nutrient-dense seeds are loaded with fiber and omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which your body converts to EPA and DHA. A 2015 study published in BioMed Research International found that ALA protects against heart disease and stroke. One reason is the fiber in flax seeds is known to reduce blood cholesterol.

flax seed heart healthy foods for menA 2015 study published in Reviews on Recent Clinical Trials found that ingesting 30 grams of flax seed powder daily for 40 days reduces:

  • Body weight
  • Body mass index
  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

Add flax seeds or flax seed powder to protein smoothies, soups, salads, oatmeal, casseroles, cottage cheese, or Greek yogurt.

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #4: Seitan

Seitan is a plant protein made from wheat gluten, and often used in place of red meat among vegan dieters. When eaten in place of red and processed meats, seitan helps protect against heart disease.

seitan heart healthy foods for menSeitan provides just over 20 grams of protein per serving but no cholesterol or saturated fat, which is why it’s a suitable replacement for red meat.

A 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients found that almost half of heart disease-related deaths might be prevented with proper nutrition, and plant-based diets lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, cerebral vascular disease by about 30%, and coronary heart disease by 40%. The researchers say plant-based diets help reverse heart-related medical conditions and decrease blood pressure and cholesterol.

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #5: Legumes

Like soybeans, other foods in the legume family are the best heart healthy foods for men due to high protein and fiber content. Legumes are one of the best fiber-rich foods you’ll find, and the soluble fiber in legumes can drastically reduce high cholesterol. In fact, studies show legumes help lower body weight, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Examples of heart healthy legumes include:

  • Soybeans
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Navy beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Lima beans
  • Garbanzo beans (chick peas)
  • Green peas
  • Split peas
  • Lentils

The protein and fiber in legumes helps you maintain a healthy weight by boosting satiety. A 1-cup portion of split peas provides about 16 grams of protein and 16 grams of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Add legumes to soups, salads, stir fry, and casseroles, just to name a few.

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #6: Walnuts

walnuts heart healthy foods for men

A 2017 study published in Food & Nutrition Research found that regularly consuming walnuts is associated with lower cholesterol and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

A 1-ounce portion of walnuts provides about 18 grams of heart healthy fat, 4 grams of protein, and 2 grams of dietary fiber. Add walnuts to just about any dish. Top cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or cottage cheese with walnuts, eat walnuts as a between-meal snack, or blend walnuts into protein smoothies.

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #7: Pumpkin Seeds

Like walnuts, pumpkin seeds are loaded with heart-healthy fats, protein, and cholesterol-lowering fiber.

pumpkin seeds heart healthy foods for menThat’s why adding pumpkin seeds or other seeds to daily meal plans, especially when used in place of refined carbohydrates, added sugar, and saturated fat, lowers your risk of chronic diseases.

A 1-ounce portion of shelled pumpkin seeds provides 14 grams of heart-healthy fat, 8 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber. A 2013 review in Circulation found that regularly consuming seeds is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and reduced cholesterol and blood pressure.

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #8: Oats

Oats are rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower blood cholesterol and your risk for heart disease.

oats heart healthy foods for menA 2018 review published in the journal Nutrients found that eating an extra 1 – 2 servings of whole grain cereal fiber, especially from oats, decreases your risk of heart disease by up to 20%.

You can add oats to daily menus in various ways. Eat oatmeal for breakfast topped with walnuts, add oats to protein smoothies or protein pancakes, or top Greek yogurt with oats.

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #9: Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the most nutritious super foods because it’s a whole grain rich in high-quality protein, various vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

quinoa heart healthy foods for menA 1-cup portion of cooked quinoa provides 8 grams of complete protein, almost 4 grams of heart-healthy fats, and 5 grams of dietary fiber. The healthy fats in quinoa boost good HDL cholesterol, which protects you against heart disease.

It’s a versatile grain so you can eat it with just about any meal or recipe. Quinoa works well as a side dish, in cold salads, blended into protein smoothies, and even in quinoa breakfast recipes!

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #10: Fruits

The reason fruit protects you against heart disease is because it's rich in fiber, including soluble fiber, and antioxidants. A 2017 review published in the journal Nutrients confirms that eating fruit lowers heart disease risks. The researchers found that fruits especially useful studied in research include:

  • fruit salad heart healthy foods for menGrapes
  • Pomegranate
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Hawthorn
  • Cherries
  • Black raspberries
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Papaya

While these fruits were specially mentioned in the review as protective against heart disease and its risk factors, all fruits are heart healthy when combined with a healthy lifestyle and overall nutritious eating plan.

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #11: Vegetables

Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, and are generally lower in calories than many other foods. That’s why eating plenty of veggies daily keeps your heart and blood vessels healthy.

veggies heart healthy foods for menA 2017 review published in Nutrients found that adults who ate 4 – 6 servings of vegetables daily were 32% less likely to suffer from a stroke, and those who ate more than 6 servings daily were almost 70% less likely to suffer from a stroke.

When following a Mediterranean-style eating plan, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 suggest consuming 5 cups of fruits and vegetables daily when eating 2,000 calories per day, and 6 cups when following a 2,500-calorie meal plan.

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #12: Plant Oils

Plant-based oils are some of the best heart healthy foods for men, especially when used in place of saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugar. Plant oils are loaded with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which protect your heart and boost satiety.

These fats also help your body absorb nutrients and maintain healthy-looking hair, skin, and nails. Examples of nutritious plant oils to choose include:

  • oils heart healthy foods for menOlive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Pumpkin seed oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Flax seed oil
  • Soybean oil

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 recommend consuming  6 to 7 teaspoons of oils daily when following Mediterranean-style 2,000- to 2,500-calorie eating plans. Use plant oils for cooking and sautéing, in protein smoothies, or as salad dressings.

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #13: Avocados

Avocados are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which significantly reduce your heart disease risk when used in place of saturated and trans fats.

avocado heart healthy foods for menA 2018 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that regular avocado consumption is linked with increased heart-protective HDL (good) cholesterol.

Add avocados to omelets, salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and just about any favorite breakfast, lunch, or dinner dish. Avocados make an excellent between-meal satiating snack as well.

Heart Healthy Foods for Men #14: Green Tea

Green tea is rich in antioxidants called catechins that protect you against heart disease.

green tea heart healthy foods for menA 2016 study published in the International Journal of Cardiology found that study subjects who consumed 1 – 3 (or more) cups of green tea daily had a lower risk of heart attack and stroke compared with people who drank less than 1 cup per day.

Try adding green tea powder to protein smoothies!

Planning Heart Healthy Meals

When it’s time to plan healthy meals, use the heart healthy foods for men list above as a guide. Be sure to include various different fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and oils daily. When you're ready to fill your plate at meal time, fill:

  • 1/2 of each plate with fruits and vegetables
  • 1/4 of each plate with healthy proteins
  • 1/4 of each plate with fiber-rich starches

Other healthy lifestyle tips and tricks that lower your heart disease risk include:

  • Eat heart-healthy fats at each meal
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Work out regularly
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night
  • Avoid smoking and excess alcohol
  • Avoid added sugar and refined grains (like white bread)
  • Steer clear of fried foods
  • Limit or avoid red meat
  • Avoid processed meats

Losing weight and keeping it off long term can be difficult on your own, which is why the Fit Father Project 30X (FF30X) is here to help! This weight loss plan designed for men over 40 has helped thousands of men shed pounds and achieve a desirable physique.

Give it a try today or sign up for a free 1-day meal plan or free fat burning workout to get a feel for what the Fit Father Project is like!

Erin Coleman
Writer, The Fit Father Project

A 15-year freelance writing veteran, Erin is registered dietitian and health educator who is passionate about health, fitness and disease prevention. Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife and mom of two beautiful children.

If you’re interested in a proven and completely laid out “done-for-you” weight loss meal plan & workout routine – designed for you as a busy man…

ff30xI’d recommend you read the program overview letter for our Fit Father 30-Day Program (FF30X).

Inside FF30X, you'll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Father Meal Plan
  • The metabolism boosting Fit Father 30X Workout (under 90 min/week)
  • VIP email coaching where I'll personally walk you through the program

Read the FF30X Program overview letter here to see how our plan can help you lose weight – without the complication & restriction of normal diets.

 

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on heart healthy foods for men.