This content is sponsored by Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Following a heart-healthy diet reduces the risk of heart attacks and stroke. But the holiday season is full of unhealthy foods like trans fats, red meats, refined carbohydrates and sweetened beverages.
Substituting these unhealthy foods with heart-healthy vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, lean protein and fish may be easier than you think.
Use this heart-healthy grocery list to help make better decisions at the grocery store this season.
Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
Added salt can increase blood pressure. But following a diet low in sodium and saturated fat can decrease blood pressure up to 10 points.
Look for food filled with fiber, vitamins, and the minerals potassium, magnesium and calcium. Try:
- quinoa (substitute for rice)
- white beans
- sweet potatoes
- pumpkin seeds
Tip: You can still enjoy flavor by seasoning with herbs and spices instead of salt.
Good fats play a crucial role in supporting a heart-healthy lifestyle. Unsaturated fats reduce the amount of bad LDL cholesterol in the blood, which can help lower the risk of heart disease. The following “good fats” should be considered kitchen staples.
- nuts and seeds
- olive oil (if possible, buy extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil, which is the highest quality)
- fatty fish, such as salmon, trout and tuna
Tip: Shop with a list — and stick to it. This simple strategy will keep junk food out of your cart.
WHAT THE EXPERTS DO
You don’t have to buy everything organic. But if you do, buy the foods with skin that you consume — for example, spinach, berries and apples. What’s most important is that you consume lots of fruits and vegetables, period.
Dr. Amr Abdelbaky is a cardiologist and member of Johns Hopkins Community Physicians in the greater Washington area. He is an expert in preventative cardiology, sports cardiology, heart imaging with cardiac CT and cardiac ultrasound and general cardiology. He has numerous publications in the area of heart imaging with research experience at Harvard University.