University of Illinois Extension

Heart-healthy Eating

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Heart-healthy eating is a way of eating that will help to keep your heart and cardiovascular system functioning well.

Heart-healthy eating includes:

Eating less:

Choosing more unsaturated fats like:

A heart healthful eating plan for lowering blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and triglycerides is based on these American Heart Association dietary guidelines.

emphasize vegetables, fruits, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products

Total fat intake should be 25 to 35 percent of total calories.

  • Everyone should limit their saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total calories.
  • Trans fat should be no more than 1 percent of calories.
  • The remaining dietary fat should be from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.
  • Everyone should limit their cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams per day; individuals with high cholesterol should limit their cholesterol to less than 200 milligrams per day.

Knowing Your Fats

In addition, a healthy diet includes

  • Lower sodium intake.
  • Limit alcohol consumption (no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men).
  • Maintain a healthy body weight and a dietary pattern that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

The goals of the American Heart Association Eating Plan are available at

Back to: Eating for Cardiovascular Health

This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.