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You can lower your heart disease risk enormously by leading a healthy lifestyle. In most cases, that means following a heart-healthy eating plan, getting regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. Some people may need to take medication to control heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

You can greatly improve the condition of your heart by eating healthfully.

Dietary Guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans tells you to:

  • Choose a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and moderate in total fat
  • Choose a variety of grains daily, especially whole grains
  • Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily
  • Choose beverages and foods to moderate your intake of sugars
  • Choose and prepare foods with less salt
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation
  • The Dietary Guidelines also emphasize that you should aim for a healthy weight, by being physically active each day.

Portion Sizes

Portion sizes are also vitally important. 

Follow these guidelines and visit ChooseMyPlate.gov to learn more.

Choose My Plate

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FRUITS - Fuel Up With Fruits at Meals or Snacks.

Oranges, pears, berries, watermelon, peaches, raisins, and applesauce (without extra sugar) are just a few of the great choices. Make sure your juice is 100% fruit juice.

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VEGETABLES - Color Your Plate With Great-Tasting Veggies.

Try to eat more dark-green, red, and orange vegetables, and beans and peas.

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GRAINS - Make at Least Half Your Grains Whole Grains.

Choose whole-grain foods, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, whole-wheat tortillas, brown rice, and light popcorn, more often.

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PROTEIN - Vary Your Protein Foods.

Try fish, shellfish, beans, and peas more often. Some tasty ways include a bean burrito, hummus, veggie chili, fish taco, shrimp or tofu stir-fry, or grilled salmon.

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DAIRY - Get Your Calcium-Rich Foods.

Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese at meals or snacks. Dairy foods contain calcium for strong bones and healthy teeth.