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Getting to the Heart of a Healthful Diet

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A heart-healthy lifestyle is about eating more—more fruits, more veggies, more whole grains, and more unsaturated fats. There is less room for foods that are not heart-healthy when a person focuses more on these nutrient-rich foods.

Healthy eating habits can help a person lower 3 of the major risk factors for heart attack:

The American Heart Association has created these guidelines to help people eat a heart-healthy diet:

Note: Recommendations based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.


American Heart Association

United States Department of Agriculture


Canadian Cardiovascular Society

Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada


Dietary considerations for cardiovascular disease risk reduction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/dietary-considerations-for-cardiovascular-disease-risk-reduction. Accessed August 26, 2020.

Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2019-05/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf. Accessed August 26, 2020.

Nutrition basics. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Nutrition-Basics_UCM_461228_Article.jsp#.WWdkQYTytxA. Accessed August 27, 2020.

United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of Agriculture (DHHS/DA). Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, 8th edition. DHHS/DA 2015.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardDianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN  Last Updated: 3/2/2021