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Treat Yourself: Eating Healthy to Improve Cardiovascular Health

Friday, February 24, 2017 9:57 am EST



There is an old saying that goes "you are what you eat." And while that may not be literally correct there may be some truth to it.

February is recognized nationally as Heart Health month. So, in addition to providing information about using Food Lion as a one-stop shop to gather items for their sweetheart, we also want to help improve your heart health.

Some people believe in order to eat healthy; you are required to spend more money. But that is not true.

When it comes to vegetables and fruit, it's best to buy those that are in season, says Food Lion Wellness Specialist Janice Wimbish, RN. Food Lion already provides low prices and includes special sales on produce items in the weekly flyer.

When it comes to choosing which vegetables that may be best for your heart, Food Lion Wellness Specialist Ashley Hewitt suggests reaching for those dark leafy vegetables such as kale, collards and others.

"We tend to suggest going with the dark leafy vegetables because they have more color signifying that it has more nutrients for the customer," Hewitt said. And while you are over in the produce department picking up those fresh, green leafy vegetables; pick up some berries as well. Berries are also good for the heart because they are high in antioxidants and fiber.

In addition to buying fresh vegetables and fruits, you can purchase canned and frozen vegetables that are located just a heartbeat away. In some cases, frozen vegetables are even healthier for your heart because they were frozen fresh, Hewitt says. Canned vegetables are also good for the heart and in most cases cheaper than fresh or frozen items.

Another selection of category that could help your heart are lean meats and oils. Typically, lean red meats may be a little more expensive, but your heart will thank you.

Your body is your vehicle, so you have to keep your engine — your heart — running, Omega 3, which found in a lot of lean meats are best, according to the American Heart Association. Salmon, Mackerel, tuna and sardines are high in Omega 3, which is a favorite heart food.

Hewitt suggests eating more of these types of meats and reducing saturated fats that can damage blood vessels leading to the heart.

Other food tips to improve your cardiovascular health include the following:

  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.

  • Reduce sodium in your diet with only 1,500 to 2,400 milligrams *

  • Try to use olive oils when cooking your foods

  • Dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa) is a great treat for your heart because of the flavonoids, which include antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory.

  • Small glasses of red wine in moderation are good. A maximum of 6 oz. for women and 12 oz. for men.

  • When consuming dairy try to go for the non-fat choice to help to lower cholesterol.

  • Exercise is also good for your cardiovascular health, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week **

Of course, although all of the above suggestions are simple things that you can do yourself, you should always check with your doctors first, especially if you decide to take supplements instead of food to get your vitamins.

*This information was taken from the American Heart Association

** This information was taken from The American College of Sports Medicine



Benny Smith:704-310-4077 or

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