Eat your way to a healthier heart with any of these expert-approved plans.
Grilled Salmon with Tomatoes & Basil

Despite the fact that COVID-19 has claimed 820,000 lives and counting to date, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is still the No. 1 killer in America. While some risk is impacted by genetics, a fair amount is also controlled by lifestyle choices. With this in mind, scientists continue to research which factors are most impactful to reduce the likelihood of having a heart attack, stroke or other form of heart disease.

Beyond quitting smoking, staying active and maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, one of the key elements of a heart-healthy lifestyle revolves around what you eat. (BTW, if you don't have heart disease yet, that doesn't mean you shouldn't start implementing steps to protect your heart health—here's why.)

Each January, U.S. News & World Report comes out with their list of the best diets, which are reviewed and rated by a group of 27 nationally recognized medical experts. Now in its 12th year, the team just released their annual review of the top diets overall—the gold medal once again goes to the Mediterranean diet—and in several sub-categories, including the best diet for heart health.

The 10 Best Diets for Heart Health in 2022, According to U.S. News & World Report

To determine the top 10 heart-healthiest diets, the U.S. News & World Report team crunched the numbers about how effective each of the 40 reviewed diets were at preventing cardiovascular disease and how helpful they were at reducing risk for heart patients.

This year, the best diets for heart health are:

4. Tie: Flexitarian diet and TLC diet (an abbreviation for "Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes," a diet created by the National Institute of Health's National Cholesterol Education Program)

So what do all of these heart-healthy diets have in common? They focus on plant-based whole foods and allow some flexibility to make the program your own. Many are also naturally fairly low in saturated fat and sodium and call for little to no processed meats, which are one of the worst foods for heart health.

As far as the worst diets for heart health, it looks a lot like the list for the worst diets overall: Dukan diet, Modified Keto diet, GAPS diet, Whole30 diet, AIP diet, Keto diet and the Atkins diet are rated in the bottom seven slots for their restriction of carbs and difficulty to stick with for the long haul.

Don't feel like following any set "rules"? There's no need to stick to one specific diet to actually eat a heart-healthy diet. Fill your shopping cart with these 15 heart-healthy foods and find more inspiration in our heart-healthy diet center to customize your own ticker-friendly menu that you will enjoy sticking with for a (strong and long) lifetime.