February is American Heart Month. Heart disease remains the leading cause of preventable death among men and women. Healthful eating and regular activity is the greatest weapon to prevent this disease. Adopting a heart-smart diet starts right in your cart at the supermarket. Navigate the aisles to find top-rated foods for your ticker with these tips.
Trim the Sodium
More than 77 percent of daily sodium intake comes from canned and jarred foods, condiments, packaged snacks, cheese products, frozen entrees and deli meats. Swap lower sodium versions of these foods into your cart. Furmano’s® recently lowered the sodium content of their canned tomato products. They use natural sea salt that yields a saltier taste with fewer granules to reduce the amount of sodium per serving by 50 percent or more. Add Chunky Crushed, Petite Diced, Pureed and seasoned varieties to soups, stews or sauces.
Find the Flavonoids
Your heart beats for flavonoid antioxidants! These nutrition powerhouses are found in deep blue and purple-skinned produce like Concord grapes, plus red wine and dark chocolate. They may slow the damaging effects of LDL “bad” cholesterol, clearing the arteries of dangerous plaque deposits. Concord grape juice also relaxes blood vessels making them more flexible which improves blood flow through the body. Welch’s® 100% Grape Juice makes it easy to add flavonoids to your diet. It’s made from the entire grape, including the seeds and skin, and is bottled in eight hours or less for a hefty antioxidant punch and fresh flavor in every glass.
Pump Up the Potassium
Research shows many adults fall short of their potassium goal of 4,700 milligrams per day. Potassium combats the blood pressure-increasing effects of excess sodium by helping the kidneys to remove it from the body. You can find potassium-rich foods at several stops along your route in the supermarket:
– Produce: bananas, oranges, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes
– Seafood: cod and halibut
– Center Aisles: white and kidney beans and tomato sauce
– Dairy: skim milk, soymilk, yogurt and Tropicana® Pure Premium 100% Orange Juice
Heat up a Heart-Smart Meal
Heart-healthy hidden treasures in the frozen foods department include vegetables without added sauce, fruit and reduced-sodium meals and sides like Healthy Choice®. Certified by the American Heart Association, Healthy Choice® meals are low in total and saturated fat with less than 600 milligrams of sodium per serving. Their new Steaming Entrees cook in one easy step and feature chef-inspired contemporary flavors and healthful ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, whole grains, lean protein, vegetables and premium cheeses.
Weave in the Whole Grains
Overwhelmed by the bread, cereal, rice and pasta options in the supermarket? Look for heart-healthy whole-grain standouts with at least three grams or more fiber per serving. Dietary fiber from whole grains helps manage cholesterol and may lower risk of heart disease. Breakfast is an easy place to add whole grains. Lightly-sweetened Multi-Grain Cheerios® supply a good source of fiber and one serving of whole grains in each cup. Experts recommend eating at least 25 grams of fiber and 48 grams (or three servings) of whole grains per day. Fiber-rich foods also provide a sustained feeling of fullness to promote weight management.
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