By James M. Rippe

Part of Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease For Dummies Cheat Sheet

A heart-healthy diet can help you lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol levels, and decrease your risk of diabetes. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight. Here are eight nutrition tips that can help you turn your diet into a heart-healthy one:

  • Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily — at least five servings.

  • Select a variety of whole-grain foods daily. Make most of your breads, pasta, and cereals whole grains.

  • Choose lean proteins — select from lean meat and poultry, fish, low-fat dairy or dairy substitutes, legumes (beans) and soy foods, and nuts and seeds.

  • Choose healthy oils and fats, such as olive oil, in moderation and limit your intake of saturated fat. Aim for zero trans fat.

  • Use less salt and choose prepared foods with less salt.

  • Choose beverages and foods to moderate your intake of sugar.

  • If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation.

  • Do not consume more calories than are required to maintain your best body weight.