You can learn a lot about your heart with a few simple numbers. When you know what numbers indicate a strong, healthy heart, you can set goals to reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association suggests you study this chart to learn which numbers are important and what goals you need to reach to keep your heart healthy and strong.
DIET AND NUTRITION
The amount of food you need depends on your personal calorie needs and health status. If you need 2,000 calories each day you should:
- Eat 6 to 8 daily servings of grain products, with at least half as whole grains.
1 serving = 1 slice bread, 1oz. dry cereal, or ½ cup cooked rice.
- Eat 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day, in a variety of colors and types.
- Eat 2 to 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat dairy products each day.
- Eat 3 to 6 oz. (cooked) of lean meats, poultry or seafood per day.
3 oz. of meat or poultry is about the size of a computer mouse; 3 oz. of fish is about the size of a checkbook.
- Limit intake to 2 to 3 servings per day of fats and oils. Use liquid vegetable oils and soft margarines most often to reduce saturated and trans fats.
1 serving = 1 teaspoon of soft margarine or 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise.
- Eat 3 to 5 servings per week of nuts, seeds and legumes.
1 serving = 1/3 cup nuts, 2 tablespoons peanut butter or ½ cup dry beans or peas.
- Limit cholesterol intake to 300 mg per day for people with no heart disease risk factors or to 200 mg per day for those with heart disease risk factors.
- Limit salt intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. People with high blood pressure or heart failure, African-Americans and people over 50 should limit salt to less than 1,500 mg per day.
- Limit sweets and added sugars to 5 or fewer servings per week
1 serving = 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon jam, ½ cup sorbet or 1 cup lemonade.
- Eliminate all tobacco products and exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Women: no more than 1 drink per day.
- Men: no more than 2 drinks per day.
- 1 drink = 5 oz. wine, 1 oz. liquor or 12 oz. beer