The food choices you make profoundly impact your heart health. By prioritizing nutrient-dense, heart-friendly foods, you actively support your cardiovascular system’s well-being. Every meal provides an opportunity to nourish the heart, providing it with the necessary components for optimal function and resilience. A diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats serves as a cornerstone for a strong, enduring heart.

Follow these two tips on your next shopping trip to stock up on heart-healthy foods:

  1. Cut down on sodium.

Watching your sodium intake is crucial in maintaining a healthy heart. Most of the sodium in our diets does not come from adding salt from a shaker but from processed and packaged foods. One way to cut down on sodium is to cook at home more and decrease the number of times you buy food from restaurants or consume processed foods. Additionally, buying fresh vegetables and fruit rather than canned ones can help significantly cut down on sodium.

  1. Increase your fiber intake.

You can increase your fiber by eating more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Berries, apples, leafy greens, and edamame are excellent choices to add to your diet. Aim for a colorful variety to ensure you are getting diverse nutrients and fiber types. By incorporating these fiber-rich foods into your diet, you not only support heart health but also promote better digestion, weight management and overall wellness.

Making mindful food choices is not solely about immediate gratification; it is an investment in long-term heart health.

“Eating a heart healthy diet and incorporating more whole foods and plant-based proteins is not an all-or-nothing proposition,” said David Shenouda, DO, board certified cardiologist and Director of Cardiac Rehab at Mather Hospital. “We see significant improvements in cardiac metrics when you choose one or two days per week to avoid animal proteins and follow a plant-based diet. Think about a ‘Meatless Monday’ or a ‘Veggie Thursday.’ The important part is taking steps to incorporate a heart healthy diet into your lifestyle even if it is gradual.”

Choosing foods that support cardiovascular well-being will reduce the risk of heart issues and allow you to have  a healthier, more vibrant life. Take care of your heart, eat right!