American Heart Association Outlines 10 Key Features of Heart-Healthy Eating

The AHA emphasizes the importance of looking at a total dietary pattern, including amounts, balance, combinations, and variety of beverages and food consumer regularly.

The American Heart Association has outlined 10 key features of a heart healthy eating pattern, after a scientific statement emphasized the importance of dietary patterns, rather than individual foods or nutrients.

“We can all benefit from a heart healthy dietary pattern regardless of stage of life, and it is possible to design one that is consistent with personal preferences, lifestyles, and cultural customs. It does not need to be complicated, time consuming, expensive, or unappealing,” Alice Lichtenstein, DSc, FAHA, director of the cardiovascular nutrition team at Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, said in a statement.

The features include balancing foods and calorie intake with physical activities; choosing foods with little or no salt, healthy sources of high-fiber and/or lean protein, liquid non-tropical plant oils, minimally processed foods, whole grain foods; eating a wide variety of foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables, instead of supplements; limiting alcohol consumption; minimizing intake of beverages and foods with added sugars; and applying this guidance no matter where food is consumed or prepared.

The statement reflects the latest scientific evidence on the benefits of heart healthy eating and said that a poor-quality diet is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death.

It emphasizes the importance of looking at a total dietary pattern, including amounts, balance, combinations, and variety of beverages and food consumer regularly.

“You can absolutely adapt a heart-healthy diet to different lifestyles, including 1 that incorporates eating out at restaurants. It might take a little planning, however, after the first few times it can become routine,” Lichtenstein said.

The statement was published in the Association’s journal Circulation.

Reference

New look at nutrition research identifies 10 features of a heart-healthy eating pattern. EurekAlert. News release. November 2, 2021. Accessed November 3, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/933083