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Heart Health Library


Diet and Cardiovascular Disease

Following a healthy diet plan

The food guide, called Choose My Plate, offers recommendations to help you eat a healthy diet. My Plate can help you eat a variety of foods while encouraging the right amount of calories and fat. The USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have launched a new website at ChooseMyPlate.gov to guide you in selecting healthy foods.

My Plate is divided into five food group categories, emphasizing nutritional intake of the following:

  • Grains. Foods that are made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain are grain products. Examples include whole wheat, brown rice, and oatmeal.
  • Vegetables. Vary your vegetables. Choose a variety of vegetables, including dark green, red, and orange kinds, legumes (peas and beans), and starchy vegetables.
  • Fruits. Any fruit or 100 percent fruit juice counts as part of the fruit group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed.
  • Dairy. Milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. Focus on fat-free or low-fat products, as well as those that are high in calcium. Consider options like soy, rice, and almond milk that have 130 or less calories per 8 oz as an alternative to dairy if you are lactose intolerant.
  • Protein. Go lean on protein. Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry. Vary your protein routine--choose more fish, nuts, seeds, peas, and beans.

Oils are not a food group, yet some, such as nut oils, contain essential nutrients and can be included in the diet. Others, such as animal fats, are solid and should be avoided.

Exercise and every day physical activity should also be included with a healthy dietary plan.

To find more information about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and to determine the appropriate dietary recommendations for your age, sex, and physical activity level, visit the Online Resources page for the links to the ChooseMyPlate.gov and 2010 Dietary Guidelines sites. Please note that My Plate is designed for people older than 2 who do not have chronic health conditions.

Always consult your health care provider regarding your healthy diet and exercise requirements.

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Online Resources of Cardiovascular Disease

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