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Diet and Heart Disease

Getting Extra Support

While a heart-healthy diet plan offers sensible information for heart health, you may need to make some additional changes in your diet if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
 
If you have high blood pressure or prehypertension, you may want to follow an eating plan called DASH (see DASH Diet for more information). This eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, and low-fat milk products. It is rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber, but low in saturated fat, trans fat, total fat, and cholesterol. It limits red meat, sweets, and beverages with added sugars.
 
For people with high cholesterol, a cholesterol-lowering diet (such as the TLC diet) may be recommended. TLC is a treatment program that stands for "Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes." This program helps reduce LDL cholesterol through a low-saturated fat, low-trans fat, low-cholesterol eating plan. The program also emphasizes regular physical activity and weight control.
 
(Click Low Cholesterol Diet for more information.)
 
The main difference between the TLC and the DASH eating plans is that the TLC plan puts more emphasis on decreasing saturated fat and trans fat to lower blood cholesterol levels, while the DASH diet also encourages you to eat specific foods rich in the nutrients that are important for people with high blood pressure.
 
For more information about which particular eating plan makes sense for you, or for more information about diet and heart disease, talk with your doctor, registered dietitian, or qualified nutritionist.
 
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