Are you tired of reading about the same old list of foods that you know are good for your heart? You already know to eat fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and lean protein choices. Of course, stay away from fried foods and foods with trans fats which have been shown to clog arteries. Here is a NEW list of foods for your next grocery shopping trip that your heart will love.
1. Cauliflower – even though it is not green, cauliflower contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids and since it is a cruciferous vegetable, it is great for reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Cauliflower is just as nutritious as it’s green counterpart broccoli. Buy a head of each vegetable and mix the two.
2. Buffalo – is readily available in most grocery stores today and is high in protein, iron, B-vitamins, and potassium making it a heart healthy meat. Plus it is lower in fat and calories than chicken, beef or pork. When it is time for grilling, try a buffalo burger and add caramelized onions to the mix for great flavor.
3. 100% Whole Grain Bread – make sure there the label reads 100% WHOLE GRAINS and no more than 2 grams of sugar per slice. Many breads are high in sugar which increases tryglicerides, a type of fat in your blood which increases your risk for heart disease.
4. Whole-Grain Cereal – you want to stay away from refined grains because they cause insulin to be released and stimulate the liver to produce more tryglicerides. An increase in tryglicerides in the blood puts you at great risk for heart disease. Read the label and make sure there is 6 grams of sugar OR LESS per 1/2 cup serving.
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5. Walnut Oil – makes a nice change from always using olive oil. You can also try flaxseed oil and try toasted sesame oil when making salad dressings for great flavor – you only need a little bit. They are low in saturated fat and contain heart healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. This will help lower tryglicerides and increase your HDL (good) cholesterol reducing your risk for heart disease.
6. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables – are great to have on hand for a quick meal, omelet or smoothie. Choose organic whenever possible and since they are flash frozen at peak ripeness, they maintain most of their nutrients.
7. Vanilla Soy Milk – makes a great base for a smoothie and is delicious on your whole-grain cereal plus it is easy to use in recipes. Consuming 25 grams of soy per day can reduce cholesterol levels by 5% and is great for preventing heart disease.
8. Low-Sodium Canned Goods – Canned goods have gotten a bad rap for a long time due to their high sodium content, however, low-sodium versions are now available in soups, beans and vegetables. You want to keep your salt intake low to prevent high blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Many products are now claiming to be “trans fat free”, however, keep in mind that products could still have 1/2 gram per serving. Trans fats increase the build-up of plaque in the arteries, increase the LDL (bad) cholesterol and decrease the HDL (good) cholesterol. Read the ingredients list and look for the words “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” and “vegetable shortening.” This means the product does contain some trans fats even though it may be less than 1/2 of a gram. Your heart will thank you. Here’s to a happy heart.
Sherry L. Granader, ACE, AFAA, NETA, ACSM, BBU
Whole Foods 3
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