Often a routine visit with your health care professional can end with a smile and a strong recommendation to eat more heart-healthy foods. To some of us, this may seem like an impossible assignment, but it isn’t. To find heart-healthy foods visit your favorite grocery store. Even though you probably won’t find an aisle labeled “Heart-Healthy Food” at your favorite grocery store, you can find a good variety of heart-healthy foods there. Most of these foods are fiber-rich foods. High fiber foods are good for your heart health, digestion, and weight loss. Whether you want to or need to lower your cholesterol, fiber lowers your levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol.
A simple strategy can help you to find these foods easily and quickly. We suggest you use your heart-healthy food shopping list as your map. Although a map is rarely a picture of the entire territory, it is always best to start with a map and use it. This list will remind you of what you went there to do. It will also keep you on task and reduce the urge to buy unhealthy foods. To make your grocery store experience effective buy only the foods you intend to eat. In your quest for heart-healthy foods, your map will take you down various food aisles. We suggest you begin with some of the high fiber foods in the produce aisle. If your favorite grocery store has produce aisles with affordable fresh fruits and vegetables have at it. Fill your cart with a variety of fruits and vegetables to assure you get the heart-healthy food benefits that both offer.
As a rule, with vegetables the darker color of the fiber content. Choose fiber-rich foods like broccoli, Swiss chard or Collard greens. Select vegetables that are of medium size such as red, russet, or sweet potatoes, and onions which all have good amounts of fiber. Apples, avocados, kiwi fruit, oranges, pears, blueberries, cherries, and strawberries are fresh fruits and excellent sources of fiber. However, if prices are out of your range of fresh fruits and vegetables are not available, the canned goods and dry goods aisles offer good alternatives. Recognize that some refined or processed canned fruits and vegetables are lower in fiber. Please avoid those canned with sugars or lard which can sabotage the best heart-healthy food eating efforts. Before you add canned fruits and vegetables to your shopping cart read the labels carefully.
Finally, as you cruise down the dry goods-aisle remember that all beans are fiber-rich foods, and navy and white beans are the most fiber dense. Garbanzo beans, also called chickpeas, kidney, lima, pinto beans are also good heart-healthy food choices to put in your cart. Use beans as a flavorful addition to soups or salads and transform them into mouth-watering and lip-smacking experiences. Be adventurous and try other legumes which are also high in fiber. Now that you know how easy it is to find heart-healthy foods, you can eat more of them. You’ll feel better and look better, and have more energy.