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Diet and Cardiovascular Disease

Following a healthy diet plan

The food guide, called Choose My Plate, offers recommendations to help you eat a healthy diet. My Plate can help you eat a variety of foods while encouraging the right amount of calories and fat. The United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have a website at ChooseMyPlate.gov to help you select healthy foods.

My Plate is divided into 5 food group categories, emphasizing nutritional intake of the following:

  • Grains. Foods that are made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain are grain products. Examples include whole wheat, brown rice, and oatmeal.

  • Vegetables. Vary your vegetables. Choose a variety of vegetables, including those that are dark green, red, and orange; legumes (peas and beans); and starchy vegetables.

  • Fruits. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the fruit group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed.

  • Dairy. Milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. Focus on fat-free or low-fat products, as well as those that are high in calcium. Consider options like soy, rice, and almond milk that have 130 or fewer calories per 8 oz as an alternative to dairy, if you are lactose intolerant.

  • Protein. Go lean on protein. Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry. Vary your protein routine -- choose more fish, nuts, seeds, peas, and beans.

Oils are not a food group, yet some, such as nut oils, contain essential nutrients and can be included in your diet. Others, such as animal fats, are solid and you should avoid them.

You should also include exercise and every day physical activity with your healthy dietary plan.

In addition to ChooseMyPlate.gov, you may visit Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010  to determine the appropriate dietary recommendations for your age, sex, and physical activity level. Please note that the My Plate plan is designed for people older than age 2, who do not have chronic health conditions.

Always consult your health care provider regarding your healthy diet and exercise requirements.

Online Medical Reviewer: Foster, Sarah, RN, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 4/17/2014
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