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With a heart healthy food plan, you will learn to make better food choices. This diet may help you lower your blood cholesterol level, manage your blood pressure, and lower your risk for heart problems. Smaller portions may also be helpful. Sodium is a type of mineral found in many foods. It helps keep the balance of fluids in your body. Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure. It can also make you take on extra water. This is called edema. Pay careful attention to how much salt or sodium is in your food. You may need to avoid salt or eat foods with less sodium. Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance in your blood. It is normal to have some cholesterol in your blood because your body makes it. You also get extra cholesterol from all animal products. These are foods like meats, eggs, and dairy products. Too much cholesterol can block or damage your blood vessels. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Fats in your food have calories which give energy. Not all fats are bad. Some fats are healthy, like the fat found in fish, nuts, and olive oil. These are called unsaturated fats. They help manage body functions and lower cholesterol levels. Learn about the best fats to use in your diet and where to use them. Eating too much fat may make you more likely to weigh more than is healthy. This raises your risk of many heart problems. Fiber is found in plants. Meat and dairy products do not have fiber in them. Fiber can help you lower your unhealthy cholesterol level. You may need more water as you eat more fiber so you do not get hard stools.

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