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Elevate Heart Health Through Proper Nutrition

Kamerin Hargrove
Key Components to Remember when Grocery Shopping

Heart health is a cornerstone of overall well-being, and while genetics play a role, lifestyle choices—particularly nutrition—impact cardiovascular health. 

By understanding the importance of consuming proper nutrients, you can proactively support your heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of mortality in men, women and people of most ethnic groups in the United States. 

A diet high in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars can contribute to elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, inflammation and weight gain, all of which are risk factors for heart disease. 

Contrarily, consuming a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients can help prevent and manage these conditions, contributing to optimal heart function and longevity. 

Vail Health Clinical Nutrition Manager Kellie Koswick says heart health is significantly influenced by the overall pattern of food consumption; however, the top five key considerations you should make when grocery shopping are:
  1. Choose a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. 
  2. Look for whole grains. 
  3. Incorporate healthy protein sources, primarily from plant-based sources like legumes and nuts, fish and seafood, low-fat or nonfat dairy, and lean, unprocessed meat and poultry if consumed. 
  4. Include liquid vegetable oils. 
  5. Read nutrition labels to pick the foods that are lowest in saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. 
“It’s not about singling out individual foods or meals, but rather about maintaining a balanced intake of food and beverages that meet your energy needs,” says Koswick. “Labeling specific foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is an oversimplification and can lead to unhealthy eating behaviors.” 

Instead, she says the focus should be on a balanced and varied diet. Following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) or Mediterranean Diet can help you create a heart-healthy eating style for life.