Dietary Guidelines

Achieve an overall healthy eating pattern.

• Choose an overall balanced diet with foods from all major food groups, emphasizing fruits, vegetables and grains.
• Consume a variety of fruits, vegetables and grain products.
• At least 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
• At least 6 daily servings of grain products, including whole grains.
• Include fat-free and low-fat dairy products, fish, legumes, poultry and lean meats.
• Eat at least two servings of fish per week.

Achieve a healthy body weight.

• Maintain a level of physical activity that achieves fitness and balances energy expenditure with caloric intake; for weight reduction, expenditure should exceed intake.
• Limit foods that are high in calories and/or low in nutritional quality, including those with a high amount of added sugar.

Achieve a desirable cholesterol level.

• Limit foods with a high content of saturated fat and cholesterol. Substitute with grains and unsaturated fat from vegetables, fish, legumes and nuts.
• Limit cholesterol to 300 milligrams (mg) a day for the general population, and 200 mg a day for those with heart disease or its risk factors.
• Limit trans fatty acids. Trans fatty acids are found in foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils such as packaged cookies, crackers and other baked goods; commercially prepared fried foods and some margarines.

Achieve a desirable blood pressure level.

• Limit salt intake to less than 6 grams (2,400 mg sodium) per day, slightly more than one teaspoon a day.
• If you drink, limit alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.


American Heart Association