Background: Prospective studies evaluating associations between food intake and risk of heart failure (HF) in diverse populations are needed. Objectives: Relationships between incident HF (death or hospitalization) and intake of seven food categories (whole grains, fruits/vegetables, fish, nuts, high-fat dairy, eggs, red meat) were investigated in an observational cohort of 14,153 African-American and white adults, age 45 to 64 years, sampled from four US communities. Methods: Between baseline (1987-1989) and Exam 3 (1993-1995), dietary intake was based on responses to a 66-item food frequency questionnaire administered at baseline; thereafter, intake was based on averaged baseline and Exam 3 responses. Hazard ratios (HR [95% CI]) for HF were calculated per 1-daily serving difference in food group intake. Results: During a mean of 13 years, 1,140 HF hospitalizations were identified. After multivariable adjustment (energy intake, demographics, lifestyle factors, prevalent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension), HF risk was lower with greater whole-grain intake (0.93 [0.87, 0.99]), but HF risk was higher with greater intake of eggs (1.23 [1.08, 1.41]) and high-fat dairy (1.08 [1.01, 1.16]). These associations remained significant independent of intakes of the five other food categories, which were not associated with HF. Conclusions: In this large, population-based sample of African-American and white adults, whole-grain intake was associated with lower HF risk, whereas intake of eggs and high-fat dairy were associated with greater HF risk after adjustment for several confounders.