The Nutrition Facts Label: Helping Americans Make Heart-Healthy Choices
February is American Heart Month, and the US Food and Drug Administration has a tool to help you achieve a heart-healthy lifestyle. It's called the Nutrition Facts Label, and it can be found on all packaged foods and beverages.
Now in its twentieth year, the Nutrition Facts Label helps you track the various nutrients you are getting from the foods you eat. In fact, it serves as your overall guide for comparing foods and making choices that can affect your long-term health!
Using Percent Daily Value (%DV) to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
High blood pressure affects approximately one in three US adults, or 75 million people. An additional 78 million adults suffer from slightly elevated blood pressure, which can turn into high blood pressure. High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder, and can lead to heart disease – the leading cause of death among men and women in the US.
Eating too much sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease. You can use the Percent Daily Value (%DV) listed on the Nutrition Facts Label as a guide to determine if a serving of food is high or low in these nutrients. As a general rule, remember that 5%DV or less of a nutrient is low, and 20%DV or more is high!
To help reduce your overall risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, be sure not to go above 100 percent of the Daily Value for sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol each day. The Daily Value for sodium is less than 2400 milligrams (mg) per day, the Daily Value for saturated fat is less than 20 grams (g) per day, and the Daily Value for cholesterol is less than 300 mg per day. Remember, the Daily Value for saturated fat is based on a 2000-calorie daily diet; your calorie needs may be different.
By using %DV on the Nutrition Facts Label to compare foods and the nutrients they contain, you can make heart-healthy choices at every meal.
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