Your best defense against illness and disease is to examine what you eat and make sure it's healthy. Take a look at your diet. By comparing your eating habits with what the experts advise, you'll have a better idea of how to make changes that will benefit your heart.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has developed dietary and lifestyle recommendations to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. These guidelines are intended for the general public and provide guidance for adults and children over age two. Rather than focusing on a single food or nutrient, the AHA puts the emphasis on your overall diet.
- Balance calorie intake and physical activity to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight.
- Consume a diet rich in vegetables and fruits.
- Choose whole-grain, high-fiber foods.
- Consume fish, especially oily fish, at least twice a week.
- Limit your intake of saturated fat to less than 7 percent of energy, trans fat to less than 1 percent, and cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day by choosing lean meats and vegetable alternatives; selecting fat-free (skim), 1 percent fat, and low-fat dairy products; and minimizing intake of partially hydrogenated fats.
- Minimize your intake of beverages and foods with added sugars.
- Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt.
- If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation.
- When you eat food that is prepared outside of the home, try to follow these recommendations.
For more information about losing weight, see:
- 10 Ways to Eat Healthier: Developing good eating habits is as much about making lifestyle changes as it is learning about food. Get started on the road to better eating.
- Benefits of Exercise: Regular physical activity can help you with everything from keeping weight off to preventing heart disease. Find out how to improve and extend your life through exercise.