Dairy Foods in a Heart-Healthy Diet Plan

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Heart Health Principles
Last Reviewed 02/20/2014

Dairy Foods in a Heart-Healthy Diet Plan

Dairy products are one of the more confusing parts of a diet when you’re eating for heart health. On one hand, nonorganic dairy foods appear to be detrimental to a heart-healthy diet plan because of their high levels of fat, hormones and sodium. But on the other hand, they contain health-promoting calcium, protein, and vitamins B12, K2 and D, which all support a healthy heart.

The people of the Mediterranean (learn why this population is important) have not cut dairy out of their lives, and still they achieve optimum heart health. With that in mind, let’s take a look at dairy’s place in the Pan-Asian Mediterranean (PAM) diet that I recommend for a healthy heart.

How Much Dairy in a Heart-Healthy Diet Plan?

I recommend that you aim for up to two servings of dairy daily and only organic products in a heart-healthy diet plan. One serving of dairy is equal to:

  • Up to 2-3 ounces milk or half & half for coffee or tea,
  • 4 ounces yogurt or cottage cheese,
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese,
  • 1 ounce feta or mozzarella cheese,
  • 1 ½ ounces low-fat cheese or
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan, Romano, or Pecorino cheese.

Note: Serving guidelines are based on a 1,800 to 2,000 calories-per-day eating plan. If your goal is weight reduction, consume smaller portions in order to lower your caloric intake.

More Dr. Sinatra Advice on a Heart-Healthy Diet Plan

How do whole grains fit into the heart-healthy PAM eating plan? Find out the important role that whole grains, nuts, and seeds play in the PAM diet for optimal heart health.

Can meat be part of a heart-healthy diet plan? Learn how the PAM diet includes a wide variety of meat options yet still promotes a healthy heart.

Want more specifics on the PAM diet for optimal heart health? Get all the details on the heart-healthy PAM eating plan.

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