The Heart Healthy Diet
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 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.
Heart 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 from fat.
- Less than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol a day.
- 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.)
Heart Healthy Diet and You – Your Personal Eating Plan
The recommendations for cholesterol and sodium are the same for everyone on the Heart Healthy Diet, regardless of the number of calories they should eat. You should eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day and no more than 2400 milligrams of sodium a day.
The recommendations for saturated fat and total fat are based on the percentage of calories you eat; the actual amount that you eat will vary depending on how many calories you eat.
Take Control of Your High Cholesterol
Take control of your cholesterol to lower your heart disease risk. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful:
What You Need To Know:
- Cut the bad fats
Foods that contain saturated fat, hydrogenated fat, and cholesterol (such as animal products, fried foods, and baked snacks) can raise cholesterol
- Reduce risk with fiber
Add whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables to your meals to reduce heart disease risk
- Get some supplemental garlic
600 to 900 mg a day of a standardized garlic extract may help lower cholesterol and prevent hardening of the arteries
- Add soy protein to your diet
30 grams (about 1 ounce) a day of powdered soy protein added to food or drinks can help lower cholesterol
- Check out natural vegetable fats (plant sterols and stanols)
Take 1.6 grams a day as a supplement or in specially fortified margarines to help reduce cholesterol
- Raise “good” cholesterol with exercise
Start a regular exercise program to help raise HDL cholesterol
These recommendations are not comprehensive and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. Continue reading the full high cholesterol article for more in-depth, fully-referenced information on medicines, vitamins, herbs, and dietary and lifestyle changes that may be helpful.