Health Notes: Heart Health

     If you are concerned about your heart health (and who isn’t?), we have some suggestions to make grocery shopping and food preparation a little easier. The good news is that you can enjoy plenty of delicious foods, especially fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Dark leafy greens, carrots, beets and berries all contain antioxidants, beta-carotene and bioflavonoids to help prevent cholesterol from oxidizing and causing damage to the heart. Eating five or more fruits and vegetables every day can reduce your cardiovascular disease risk by up to 72%.

Add high-fiber foods as well to absorb bile, clear toxins and lower LDL (bad) and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. Beans and legumes are rich in fiber, low in fat and cholesterol free.

Tofu and other soy foods are also heart friendly. The isoflavones in soy foods inhibit hardening of the arteries, improve vascular function and lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Oils such as olive, canola, soybean, flaxseed and hemp all contain beneficial fatty acids that can help lower cholesterol.

Try adding omega 3 rich fish sources, such as lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon to your diet twice a week, or ask your health care provider about taking 1 gram of fish oil per day.

Avoid saturated and trans fats including fatty meats, whole milk products, processed foods such as bakery items, hard margarines, shortenings and lard which can raise blood cholesterol and contribute to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

If you have high blood pressure, congestive heart failure or a severely damaged heart, you should also restrict the amount of sodium you consume. Reducing sodium lowers blood pressure, which helps lower heart attack and stroke risk. Substitute fresh or dried herbs, spices, lemon juice and zest, flavored vinegars or salt-free seasonings.

Our deli salad case has several "Heart Healthy" options that make convenient side dishes. Our selection varies by season, and includes Curried Corn and Couscous Salad, Chunky Mango Salsa, Sweet and Tangy Vegetable Salad, Vegetable Curried Couscous Salad as well as 19 additional low-fat salads.

Every department throughout the store is filled with many natural and organic options to help you make wise food choices as well. Let us know if we can source something special to aid in your quest for a healthy lifestyle.

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