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How to feed your four billion heartbeats: long-term benefits of a healthy diet

Your heart will beat about four billion times over the course of your lifetime. In return, you can feed it well each and every day. 

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it’s important to aim for an overall healthy way of eating you can maintain and sustain over the long haul.  

The American Heart Association recommends eating with an emphasis on:

  • A variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Whole grains.
  • Low-fat dairy products.
  • Skinless poultry and fish.
  • Nuts and legumes.
  • Non-tropical vegetable oils.
  • Less alcohol. That means no more than one drink a day for women; two for men.

Select foods and beverages low in calories and high in nutrients. It's best to go easy on the saturated fat, trans fat and sodium in canned soups and boxed snacks, as well as sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. If you eat red meat, choose the leanest cuts.

Whichever way of eating you choose your heart will thank you – about four billion times.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: www.eatright.org/health/weight-loss/fad-diets

The American Heart Association: heart.org/en