When eating with heart health in mind, most adults know what to avoid. Trans and saturated fats, salt, and sugar all need to be kept to a minimum, which leads to the question, what foods do make the cut? Here’s a grocery list to promote heart health for your next shopping trip.
Whole Grains: According to Carol Dombrow, the Heart and Stroke Foundation's registered dietitian for Health Check, "Canadians consume only about half of the fibre they require each day. Only about 15 grams of the recommended 21 to 38 grams." Oat bran and oatmeal are both high in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and control blood sugar. Insoluble fiber contributes to regularity and can be found in whole wheat pasta, bran, multigrain bread, and brown rice.
Chocolate: Specifically, dark chocolate made up of at least 60-70% cocoa contains flavonoids called polyphenols. These may help blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation.
Nuts: Nuts contain vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, and are a great source of fibre. Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts are all great choices, just be sure to keep to low or no salt options.
Fish: Salmon, sardines and mackerel all contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which studies have shown lower the risk of arrhythmia, plaque build-up in the arteries, and decrease triglycerides.
Fruits: Blueberries, strawberries, and other berries contain anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are responsible for the fruit's rich red and blue colors and may also decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit have high amounts of flavonoids and vitamin C, which has also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats that may lower risk for heart disease.
Vegetables: Vegetables are an excellent source of fibre and nutrients. Specifically dark greens such as kale, spinach, or broccoli are high in fibre and carotenoids, which act as antioxidants. Legumes (such as beans or lentils) provide a good source of protein without harmful fats.
Alcohol: Red wine in small amounts has been suggested to lower the risk of heart disease and this has since been expanded to any type of alcohol in small amounts. (Limited to a drink a day.)
A diet rich in the above foods is an excellent way to care for your heart and there's no appointment necessary to start eating well.
Questions or concerns about your nutritional needs? Contact us for more information.
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