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Reduce your fat, reduce your risk

According to the American Heart Association, about 12 million Americans suffer from coronary heart disease. You can improve your odds of preventing heart disease and a heart attack by keeping your blood cholesterol low. Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your diet low in saturated fat are good ways to do just that.

What should your fat intake be? Health care professionals recommend that all healthy people 2 years and up follow these dietary guidelines:

  • Restrict your total fat intake to less than 30% of your daily calories. Then, divide that fat intake into thirds:
    • Limit your saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your daily calories.
    • Keep your polyunsaturated intake to less than 10% of your daily calories.
    • Make sure your intake of monounsaturated fat is under 10 to 15 % of your daily calories.
  • Limit your cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg a day.
  • Eat only enough calories to achieve or maintain your desirable weight.

If you've had a heart attack or have high cholesterol levels (240 mg/dl or higher), you'll need to further restrict your intake of saturated fat (to less than 7% of your daily calories) and cholesterol (to less than 200 mg per day).

By coupling a low-fat diet with regular physical activity and a "no-smoking" policy for yourself, you'll be taking important steps in preventing heart disease. Be sure to talk to your doctor about dietary fat, your risk factors for heart disease, and what's best for you.


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