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Nutrition, Heart Disease and Good Health

You may be trying to eat healthy because you know that dietary habits play a major role in the development of heart disease. In April 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced a new food pyramid to help guide Americans to healthier eating selections. My Pyramid includes a figure walking up steps as a way to encourage Americans to be more active and fit. When it comes to eating, "one size doesn't fit all." That's why the new Pyramid is also an interactive website, so you can learn just what your individual nutrition needs may be. There's even a Pyramid for kids. Learn more. Go on a Pyramid tour. click here.

Steps to a Healthier You

Picture of the new USDA Pyramid released April 2005

When planning your diet, try to have 5-7 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit each day. Choose fresh vegetables grown locally whenever possible. Eat whole-grain products and choose healthy monounsaturated oils like extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil purchased in a can so that it is protected from sunlight and oxidation. Watch portion sizes because we've all been conditioned to eat more than we need, living in our SUPER SIZE ME nation. Try to eat 3 fish meals a week, but if you're not able, then consider taking a dietary supplement to get your essential omega-3 fatty acids. Either fish oil capsules or a teaspoon of flax oil each day should suffice. Pregant women will want to choose flax oil over fish oil capsules to avoid possible exposure to mercury. Have a fresh orange or 1/2 grapefruit in the morning and in the evening, or some other good source of vitamin C, as our bodies don't manufacture it. Sip a cup of tea several times a day. Snack on an ounce of nuts each day. Limit sugar intake and eliminate high fructose corn syrup and transfats from your diet (read food labels and the ingredients for this information). Finally, take a good quality muli-vitamin each day, one with adequate amounts of B-complex.

As always, eat a wide variety of foods in moderation, and remember, when it comes to healthy eating, there are no "good" foods and "bad" foods, only bad eating habits.


Reading Food Labels  |  Counting Fat Grams  |  Fats and Cholesterol  |  Becoming a Leaner Cook  |  Dietary Supplements   |  The DASH Diet  |  Healthy Lifestyle  |  Mediterranean Diet  |  Nutrition and Health  |  Diet and Exercise Log

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1999-2000; updates: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 Women's Heart Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited. The information contained in this Women's Heart Foundation (WHF) Web site is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and WHF recommends consultation with your doctor or health care professional.