Lean meats and meat alternatives like beans or tofu
Fish, vegetables, beans, and nuts
Nonfat and low-fat dairy products
Polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, like canola and olive oils, to replace saturated fats, such as butter
Read food labels and limit the amount of trans fat you eat. Trans fat raises the levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and also lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good") cholesterol in the blood. Trans fat is found in many processed foods made with shortening or with partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated vegetable oils. These foods include cookies, crackers, chips, and many snack foods.
Limit sodium. Most people get far more sodium than they need. Try to limit how much sodium (salt) you eat. For good health, less is best. This is especially important for people who are at risk for or already have high blood pressure. If you are African-American, have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, or are older than age 50, try to limit the amount of salt you eat to less than 1,500 mg a day. If none of those things describe you, try to limit sodium to 2,300 mg a day.2
Limit alcohol intake to 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
Limit drinks and foods with added sugar.
When you are eating away from home, try to follow these heart-healthy guidelines.
Special considerations include the following:
Older people. As you age, you do not usually need to eat as many calories. Although the general dietary guidelines remain the same, older people should be careful to choose foods rich in nutrients to meet their nutritional needs without too many calories.
Children. Children over the age of 2 can follow the AHA diet and lifestyle recommendations and maintain normal growth while lowering their risk of heart disease in the future.