8 Protein-Rich Foods Good for the Heart


8 Protein-Rich Foods Good for the Heart

There are numerous protein sources that help keep your heart healthy by providing healthy fats and other essential nutrients.

While there is evidence that consuming too much protein increases the risk of heart disease, a low-protein diet can also be harmful to cardiovascular health. Therefore, the appropriate amount of protein for you is crucial. This is because protein helps maintain muscle mass, bone mineral density, transports oxygen and antibodies, and supports signaling pathways in the body.

The best protein-rich foods for the heart are those low in saturated fat and rich in heart-supporting nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins such as B12 (cobalamin), B6 (pyridoxine), and B2 (riboflavin).

Studies have shown that replacing fatty meats with fish, legumes, lean poultry, and nuts significantly reduces the risk of heart disease. These proteins provide healthy fats and soluble fiber that promote good cholesterol and better anti-inflammatory effects. If you want to improve your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, these are the best proteins for your heart.

Fatty Fish Rich in Omega-3s for a Healthy Heart

Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are among the best foods for the heart because they provide omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with better neutral fat levels, reducing plaque buildup in the arteries.
Salmon contains 20g of protein per 100g when cooked.
Mackerel contains 23g of protein per 100g when cooked.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are three different types of omega-3s: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). You mainly get ALA from plant sources like flaxseeds and soybeans, but DHA and EPA are found in fish and other seafood. Mackerel contains higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, which help reduce neutral fats, a type of blood fat, while providing anti-inflammatory benefits for a healthy heart.


Tempeh Provides Heart-Healthy Lean Protein

Tempeh, made from fermented soybeans, provides heart-healthy lean protein, along with probiotic and prebiotic compounds friendly to gut health, as well as manganese. Manganese is known to be a vasodilator, improving blood flow and reducing the workload on the heart.
Tempeh contains 17g of protein per 100g. Research has shown that soy-based foods like tempeh can offer several health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease.
Probiotics and prebiotics in tempeh are also particularly excellent for keeping the heart functioning well. The gut microbiome and cardiovascular health are closely linked.

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Pure or Low-Fat Greek Yogurt

Full-fat dairy products contain high levels of saturated fat, which can contribute to heart disease, so it’s best to consume these foods in moderation. However, non-fat or low-fat yogurt is an excellent alternative. Non-fat yogurt provides calcium, magnesium, and potassium that help lower blood pressure and support regular heart rhythms.
In 150g of Greek yogurt, there are 17g of protein. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), adults should consume 2-3 servings (each serving is 100ml) of non-fat or low-fat dairy products, while children should consume 2 or more servings, and adolescents and older adults can consume 4 servings.


Beans: Good Protein Source for Heart Health

Beans are very rich in plant-based protein. Additionally, soluble fiber in beans helps lower cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, beans are also rich in minerals that promote heart health, such as potassium, zinc, and magnesium.


Nuts are rich in unsaturated fats that support the heart and omega-3s that help reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Walnuts have the highest omega-3 content among nuts, but other nuts are also good choices.
Research has shown that consuming peanuts and nuts twice a week or more is associated with a 15-23% reduction in the risk of coronary artery disease and a lower risk of heart disease by 13-19%.

Chicken Breast: Healthy Lean Protein Source

Choosing lean protein sources like chicken breast is an excellent way to limit saturated fat in your diet. There are 26g of protein in 100g of cooked chicken breast. Chicken breast is also an excellent source of zinc and vitamin B12, which are essential for heart health due to their role in maintaining heart structure and normalizing homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid in the body, and abnormal homocysteine levels may indicate a deficiency in certain vitamins. It is also associated with a higher risk of heart disease.



Tofu is a staple in many vegetarian and vegan diets, but meat eaters can also benefit from incorporating tofu into their daily diet. Like tempeh, tofu is made from soybean protein, helping to reduce LDL cholesterol and providing ALA omega-3s, good for heart health. Most of the cardiovascular health benefits of tofu are believed to come from isoflavones, a type of plant compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.


Seeds such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds provide protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Seeds are a healthy food group proven to protect the heart due to their fiber and nutrient content, according to a March 2018 review in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

In conclusion, incorporating protein-rich foods into your diet can greatly benefit heart health. Opting for lean sources of protein like fatty fish, tempeh, Greek yogurt, beans, nuts, chicken breast, tofu, and seeds not only provides essential nutrients but also supports cardiovascular well-being. These foods offer a balance of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to lowering cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation, and improving overall heart function. By making these dietary choices, you can take proactive steps towards maintaining a healthy heart and reducing the risk of heart disease.

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