Being conscious about a heart disease diet can have a huge impact on both preventing the disease as well as help in coping with it. Here are some suggestions to follow:

Animal products are a source of saturated fats. Try minimizing your portions of red meat, which has especially high amounts of saturated fat. Replace your source of protein with fish and chicken. Eating fish can be beneficial with its omega three fatty acids. Some tasty choices are salmon, tuna and herring. You can also try meat alternatives such as beans and tofu. Remove the skin before preparing meat and poultry and don't add saturated and Trans fats.

You can avoid saturated fats in other foods as well. Replace butter with olive oil and canola oil. Choose non-fat and low fat dairy products. Care should also be taken with Trans fat because it raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol in the blood. It is also contained in many processed foods that are made with shortening, partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated vegetable oils such as chips, crackers, cookies and other snack foods. Generally, nutrient-poor foods and drinks that are high in calories and added sugars should be carefully limited. Along with avoiding saturated and Trans fats, cholesterol should also be limited by consuming less than 300 milligrams of it a day. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything with more than two grams of saturated fat per serving and less than one gram of Trans fat per 100 calories. Make it a habit to always read food labels.

A healthy heart disease diet also takes into consideration the amount of sodium. It should be limited to less than 2300 milligrams a day. Try cutting it out of your diet completely or minimizing it as much as possible by not adding salt to your meal at the dinner table.

Good food choices for a heart disease diet also include nutritious plant foods. You should have several servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Some highly nutritious choices are dark green, deep orange or yellow fruits and veggies. Vegetables, fruits and beans have high amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol too. A variety of whole grains is good for heart health also, with all their nutrients and fiber.

When eating out remember and apply these suggestions to maintain your heart's health. Even when you're in a rush and need fast food there are still some smart choices you can make. Avoid super-sizing your meal, skip the deep fried sides and add a side salad or fruit cup. Some fast food restaurants have baked potatoes instead of fries. Be careful to use low fat or fat free sour cream and margarine. You can also enjoy grilled chicken in your sandwich, a healthier alternative to deep fried and breaded chicken. If you do opt for a typical beef patty avoid meat portion and don't add bacon, which is high in fat and calories with few nutrients. Pile on the pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mustard and ketchup to add flavor instead of bacon, cheese, mayo, and any other special sauces with high calorie content. Some places also have whole wheat/grain buns available. Finally, drink water, or low fat/skim milk with your meal.