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Dietary Guidance to Improve Cardiovascular Health
Publication Date: November 2, 2021
Last Updated: March 14, 2022
Summary of Key Recommendations
Evidence-Based Dietary Guidance to Promote Cardiovascular Health
1. Adjust energy intake and expenditure to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, choose a wide variety
3. Choose foods made mostly with whole grains rather than refined grains
4. Choose healthy sources of protein
a. mostly protein from plants (legumes and nuts)
b. fish and seafood
c. low-fat or fat-free dairy products instead of full-fat dairy products
d. if meat or poultry are desired, choose lean cuts and avoid processed forms
5. Use liquid plant oils rather than tropical oils (coconut, palm, and palm kernel), animal fats (eg, butter and lard), and partially hydrogenated fats
6. Choose minimally processed foods instead of ultra-processed foods*
7. Minimize intake of beverages and foods with added sugars
8. Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt
9. If you do not drink alcohol, do not start; if you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake
10. Adhere to this guidance regardless of where food is prepared or consumed
* There is no commonly accepted definition for ultra-processed foods, and some healthy foods may exist within the ultra-processed food category.
Figure: Dietary patterns to promote cardiovascular health
2021 Dietary Guidance to Improve Cardiovascular Health
American Heart Association
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