Getting to the Heart of a Healthful Diet
A heart-healthy lifestyle isn't about deprivation. It's about eating more—more fruits, more vegetables, more whole grains, and more unsaturated fats. When you focus on putting more of these nutrient-rich foods in your diet, there is naturally less room for the not-so-heart-friendly foods—those high in saturated fat and low in nutrients.
Healthy eating habits can help you reduce three of the major risk factors for heart attack:
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Excess body weight
So how does this translate into your grocery list and on to your dinner plate? To help you eat the heart healthy way, The American Heart Association has created some guidelines. Click on each guideline below to find out what it means for you...
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Choose 5 or more servings per day.
- Eat a variety of grain products, including whole grains. Choose 6 or more servings per day.
- Include fat-free and low-fat milk products, fish, legumes (beans), skinless poultry, and lean meats.
- Limit foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and/or cholesterol, such as full-fat milk products, fatty meats, tropical oils, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and egg yolks. Instead choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol from the first three points above.
- Choose fats with two grams or less saturated fat per serving, such as liquid and tub margarines, canola oil, and olive oil.
- Limit your intake of foods high in calories or low in nutrition, including foods like soft drinks and candy that have a lot of sugars.
- Eat less than six grams of salt (sodium chloride) per day (2400 milligrams of sodium).
- Have no more than one alcoholic drink per day if you're a woman and no more than two if you're a man.
American Heart Association
Center for Science in the Public Interest
US Department of Agriculture
Greene CM, Fernandez ML.The role of nutrition in the prevention of coronary heart disease in women of the developed world. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16(1):1-9.
Last reviewed January 2007 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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