Top 25 Heart Healthy Foods
By Nathan Stock, Regional Wellness Specialist
With heart disease being the number one leading cause of death in the U.S. you can’t help but think “what can I do to help keep my heart healthy?” We all know exercise, eating a balanced diet and finding time to relax are all important in keeping our bodies healthy, but do we know the best foods to eat to help keep your heart strong?
VG's Grocery has a great variety of heart healthy foods for you and your family. Here are 25 of our favorites that we hope you’ll enjoy, and incorporate into your weekly eating plans.
February may be the shortest month, but it still leaves you enough time to start making healthy choices.
Happy American Heart Health Month!
My Top 5:
Ground or Milled Flax Seed (center store) contains omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestrogens that all help give your heart the boost it needs to stay healthy. Try adding to salads, yogurt, baked vegetables, baked goods, or even mix with water as an egg substitute.
- Dark Beans (center store), such as kidney and black beans, are high in fiber, B-vitamins, heart healthy protein and all sorts of other good stuff.
- Blue and Red Fruits (store perimeter and frozen section), such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and red grapes
- Heart Healthy Fish (store perimeter, center store, and frozen section), such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. Try to have baked, broiled, poached, or grilled heart healthy fish twice a week.
- Plant-based foods (center store and perimeter) like soybeans, pinto beans, lentils, and nuts. Great heart healthy protein options
Other Heart Healthy Options:
- Whole Grains (breads, cereals, and oatmeal)
- Olive Oil (canola, avocado, or safflower are ok too)
- All other beans (pinto, garbanzo, and chickpeas)
- Nuts (almonds, pecans, and walnuts)
- Green Veggies (our favorites: broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and leafy greens)
- Margarines (fortified with stanols or sterols)
- Teas (green and black teas)
- Lean Meats (look for “loin” or “round”)
- Low Fat, Reduced Fat, and Low Sodium Cheese (ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and Swiss)
- Low Fat Milk and Yogurt (skim or fat-free)
- Alternative Milk (almond, soy, cashew, or hemp)
- Eggs (mainly egg whites)
- Citrus Fruits (grapefruit, lemons, limes, and oranges)
- Squash (all varieties)
- Potatoes (sweet or regular with skins)
Heart healthy food choices are a great way to jump-start your heart’s health. Remember, eat more fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned), lean proteins, low-fat dairy and whole grains. The more color the better! Make sure to also look for high fiber and low sodium foods to balance your meal plan.
Visit your local VG's Grocery for these and other heart healthy foods to keep your heart ticking. Our in-store pharmacists are also great resources for your heart healthy vitamin/supplement questions.
Nathan is the Regional Wellness Specialist for all Michigan retail stores and supports and drives all health and wellness initiatives at the Grand Rapids, Michigan corporate office on a daily basis. Nathan has a degree in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics and has focused most of his professional career in preventive health and wellness across Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan.
As someone with Type 1 diabetes, my life revolves around food.
Since food affects every minute of my life, I love sharing with others how food affects our bodies and the benefits whole foods have versus "quick fix" options. Food to me is family, life and my passion.