Heart Healthy Diet has been formulated by the National
Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). NHLBI is
part of the Federal Government's National Institutes
In order to keep your LDL and your risk for heart
disease low, you should start on the Heart Healthy
Diet. The Heart Healthy Diet is an eating plan that
can help keep your blood cholesterol level low and
decrease your chance of developing heart disease.
Remember: the Heart Healthy Diet is fine for the whole
family, including children from the age of 2 - 4 onward.
Children under 2 years of age should not follow the
Heart Healthy Diet - they need more fat to provide
enough calories for growth and development. See the
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) if you need to
lower your cholesterol levels.
Healthy Diet Guidelines - you should eat:
8-10% of the day's total calories from saturated fat.
30 percent or less of the day's total calories
Less than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol
Limit sodium intake to 2400 milligrams a day.
Just enough calories to achieve or maintain
a healthy weight and reduce your blood cholesterol
level. (Ask your doctor or registered dietitian what
is a reasonable calorie level for you.)
are based on your TOTAL DAILY CALORIC INTAKE.
Food Low in Saturated Fat
All foods that contain fat have different mixtures
of saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fat raises
your LDL "bad" cholesterol level more than
anything else you eat. It is found in greatest amounts
in foods from animals, such as fatty cuts of meat,
poultry with the skin, and whole-milk dairy products,
and in tropical oils like coconut, palm kernel and
palm oils. Most other vegetable oils are low in saturated
fats. The best way to reduce your blood cholesterol
level or keep it low is to choose foods low in saturated
fat. One way to do this is by choosing foods such
as fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods, and low
fat or non fat dairy products, which are naturally
low in fat. Also, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
are high in starch and fiber, which can help reduce
your blood cholesterol or keep it low.
Foods Low in Cholesterol
Dietary cholesterol also can raise your blood cholesterol
level, although usually not as much as saturated fat.
So it is important to choose foods low in dietary
cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol is found only in
foods that come from animals. Many of these foods
are also high in saturated fat. Foods from plant sources
do not have cholesterol but can contain saturated
fat. To lower the amount of cholesterol in your diet,
choose plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains,
lowfat or nonfat dairy products, and moderate amounts
of lean meats, skinless poultry, and fish.
Word about Sodium
If you have high blood pressure as well as high blood
cholesterol (and many people do), your doctor may
tell you to cut down on sodium or salt. As long as
you are working on getting your blood cholesterol
number down, this is a good time to work on your blood
pressure, too. Try to limit your sodium intake to
no more than 2,400 milligrams a day. To lower the
amount of sodium in your diet, choose low sodium foods,
such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lowfat or
nonfat dairy products, and moderate amounts of lean
meat. Add herbs and spices to your food instead of
high sodium table salt.
Overweight, and You
People who are overweight usually have higher blood
cholesterol levels than people of desirable weight.
When you cut the fat in your diet, you cut down on
the richest source of calories as well as saturated
fat and cholesterol. An eating pattern high in fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, lowfat or nonfat dairy products
and a moderate amount of lean meat, skinless poultry,
and fish is a good way to lose weight and improve
your blood cholesterol.