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As we continue to observe National Heart Month, we want to focus on the simple steps you can take in the grocery store aisle to help you and your family prevent heart disease. When it comes to your heart, what you eat matters. You can follow these tips for heart-healthy eating:

Eat less saturated facts

Cut back on fatty meats, high-fat dairy, cakes, cookies, and butter. This includes pizza, burgers, and foods with creamy sauce or gravy. Moderation is key to these sorts of foods.

Cut down on sodium consumption 

When looking at your food selection, read the Nutrition Facts label and choose foods that are lower in sodium. Lots of choices now have “Low Sodium” or “No Salt Added” options. 

Get More Fiber

Eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to add fiber to your diet. The old saying of “an apple a day…” really does help. 

Next time you go to your local grocery store to make food choices for you and your family, keep in mind this quick guide to make heart-healthy choices. 

Vegetables and Fruits

Fruits and vegetables are great for your heart and there are a wide variety to choose from to appease even the pickiest eater. You can buy fruits and vegetables that are fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. 

  • Fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage, and carrots
  • Leafy greens for salads, like Romaine lettuce, spinach, and kale
  • Canned vegetables that are low in sodium
  • Frozen vegetables without added butter or sauces, like broccoli or cauliflower
  • Fresh fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, pears, and peaches
  • Canned frozen, or dried fruit without any added sugars

Dairy

Look for fat-free or low-fat options. 

  • Fat free or low-fat (1%) milk
  • Fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt
  • Fat-free or low-fat cheese
  • Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese 
  • Soy milk with added calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D

Breads, Cereals, and Other Grains

For products with more than one ingredient, make sure whole wheat or another whole grain is listed first in the ingredient list. Look for products that say 100% whole grain. 

  • Whole-grain bread, bagels, English Muffins, and tortillas
  • Whole-grain hot or cold breakfast cereals with no added sugar, like oatmeal or shredded wheat
  • Whole grains such as brown or wild rice, quinoa, or barley
  • Whole wheat or whole grain pasta and couscous 

Fats and Oils

It is important to cut back on saturated fat and look for products with no trans fats. Choose foods with unsaturated fats like seafood, nuts, seeds, avocados, and oils.

  • Margarine and spreads with no trans fats and less saturated fats
  • Vegetable oil (canola, corn, olive, peanut, soybean, or sunflower)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Lower-calorie mayonaise
  • Salad dressings that are oil based

For more information, tips, and what you can do keep a healthy heart, visit The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, or HealthFinder.gov 

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