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Dietary Guidelines for Heart Health

Dietary Guidelines

Achieve an overall healthy eating pattern

  • Choose a balanced diet with food from all major food groups, emphasizing fruits, vegetables and grains
  • Consume a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains
  • At least 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables
  • At least 6 daily servings of grain products, including whole grains
  • Include fat-free and low-fat dairy products, fish, legumes, poultry and lean meats
  • Eat at least 2 servings of fish per week

Achieve a Healthy Body Weight

  • Limit foods that are high in calories and/or low in nutritional quality, including those with a high amount of added sugar
  • Maintain a level of physical activity that achieves fitness and balances energy
  • Expenditure with caloric intake
  • Expenditure should exceed intake for weight reduction

Achieve a Desirable Cholesterol Level

  • Limit foods with a high content of saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Substitute with grains and unsaturated fat from vegetables, fish, legumes and nuts
  • Limit cholesterol to 300 mg a day for the general population, and 200 mg a day for those with heart disease or it’s risk factors

Limit trans fatty acids

  • Trans fatty acids are found in foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils such as packaged cookies, crackers, and other baked goods as well as commercially prepared fried foods and some margarines

Achieve a Desirable Blood Pressure

  • Limit salt intake to less than 6 grams (2,400 mg sodium) per day ? slightly more than 1 teaspoon a day
  • If you drink, limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day

Step I and Step II Diets

  • Programs developed to treat high cholesterol and to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease which causes heart attacks
  • Helps patients set goals for reducing cholesterol and promote good nutrition
Nutrient Step I Step II
Total Fat 30% or less 30% or less
Saturated 7-10% less than 10%
Polyunsaturated Up to 10% Up to 10%
Monounsaturated Up to 15% Up to 15%
Carbohydrates 55% or more 55% or more
Protein 15% 15%
Cholesterol less than 300 mg per day less than 200 mg per day
Total Calories to achieve and maintain desired weight to achieve and maintain desired weight
Basic Food Groups
Lean meat, poultry and fish No more than 6 oz per day; fish 2 times per week
Vegetables and fruit 5 or more per day
Fat-free skim milk and low-fat dairy products 2-4 per day
Eggs Eggs have 213 mg of cholesterol per yolk; limit 300mg per day; egg whites not limited
Breads, cereals, pasta and starchy vegetables 6 or more per day

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