The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that heart disease has been called the Silent Killer because it often has no noticeable symptoms. The statistics: It’s more deadly than all forms of cancer combined and actually impacts more women than men. In addition to talking with your healthcare provider about preventive measures such as kicking the smoking habit and keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level, the right diet can help. From healthy fats to low calorie treats, here are some suggestions for heart-healthy foods and drinks, based on the AHA recommendations:
Eat a variety of fruits. When you choose ones without sugar, you can keep canned fruit and dried fruit on hand to save time. For example, try mixing Eden Foods Organic Dried Cranberries Sweetened with Apple Juice with plain yogurt or sprinkle into your cereal. Edward & Sons Native Forest Organic Sliced Peaches in Organic Fruit Juice make a delicious dessert when spooned over cut-up bananas.
Treat yourself to a range of vegetables rather than limit yourself to iceberg lettuce. Canned veggies can help here too, but choose those low in sodium. Soup counts too when you choose a brand loaded with veggies, such as Dr. McDougall’s Lower Sodium Garden Vegetable Soup.
Say hello to unrefined whole-grain foods. They provide you with fiber to help you maintain healthy cholesterol while keeping you full to promote weight loss. Your only problem: What to choose, with so many delicious choices! Try different kinds, such as Arrowhead Mills Organic Quinoa. Have a sweet tooth? Indulge without guilt in Atkins Day Break™ Oatmeal Cinnamon Squares, made with whole grains that result in a total of 10 grams of fiber.
Make friends with fish. The AHA cites research showing eating oily fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon, trout, and herring) may help support heart health. Aim for two servings a week with delicious and easy-to-prepare options such as Crown Prince Natural Skinless & Boneless Pacific Pink Salmon.
Avoid beverages with added sugar. Sip water or try herbal tea, such as Celestial Seasonings Caffeine-Free Cinnamon Apple Spice herbal tea.
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com, Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.