5 Heart Healthy Items to Put in Your Grocery Cart

In Your Cart

Sheryl Lozicki is a Registered Dietitian at Mercy Health Saint Mary's and the Director of Nutrition and Wellness. As February, American Heart Month, draws to a close, today's "In Your Cart" segment features the top five heart healthy items to put in your grocery cart. The American Heart Association, the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and our cardiac specialists at Mercy Health recommend these top- performing foods. They are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber and are low in saturated fat, sodium and trans-fat free.

1. Salmon, Tuna, Halibut or Sardines

The American Heart Association recommends we eat two or more servings of omega-3 rich fish per week. These types of fish lower the level of triglycerides in the blood that contributes to blood clots, lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation in the blood vessels and throughout the body. Studies show that people who follow these guidelines have a 30% reduced risk of developing heart disease. Wild caught fish have fewer contaminants than farm raised and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

Try our favorite Bourbon Salmon recipe below. If you don't like fish as an entrée, on salads or as a sandwich, try good food sources of ALA contained in walnuts, flax seed oil, canola olive and soybean oil. ALA is converted into omega-3 fatty acids in the body.

2. Flaxseed (ground)

How is flaxseed good for your heart if 2 Tablespoons contain 60 calories and two-thirds of these calories are from fat? The combination of these 3 ingredients helps reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol.

• 2400 milligrams omega-3 fatty acids in 2 Tablespoons

• Lignans which have phytoestrogen and antioxidant qualities.

• 4 grams of fiber in 2 Tablespoons.

You do need to grind your flaxseed to activate its health benefit as whole flaxseed will pass through undigested. Add ground flaxseed to yogurt parfaits, smoothies, breakfast cereal, breakfast breads, muffins and bars.

3. Oatmeal

It's been 17 years since the Food and Drug Administration approved the heart healthy claim for oatmeal and other foods made from whole oats such as oat bran and oat flour. "Soluble fiber from whole oats as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease." The soluble fiber in oatmeal helps lower LDL cholesterol. It may also keep you fuller longer, which helps promote weight loss, another heart healthy benefit if you are overweight.

You can't find another breakfast cereal that has only one gram of sugar, 0 milligrams of sodium and 4 grams of fiber for only $0.08 per serving! Grind oatmeal up in a blender and swap it out for ¼-½ your flour ingredients. It adds a sweet flavor and dense texture to your baked goods. Top this hot breakfast cereal with fresh berries and add iron, fiber-rich raisins to your oatmeal cookies to increase the health benefits even more.

4. Black, Kidney, Pinto or Garbanzo Beans and Lentils

Beans are a low cost, good source of protein, potassium, soluble fiber and iron and contain no fat. Soluble fiber binds with cholesterol and helps prevent it from being absorbed when we consume it in foods. One serving of beans provides 1/3-1/2 of your recommended daily fiber needs that range from 25-38 grams per day. Unfortunately, the average adult female consumes only 14.3 grams and the average male only 18 grams, creating a big nutrient gap. Beans also contain heart-protective chemicals called flavonoids, those same compounds found in red wine, berries and chocolate helping to reduce blood stickiness. Smart, health-focused restaurants have been adding beans and lentils to their meals to "extend the plate" at a very low cost. An entire bag cost $1.15 and contains 14 servings. That's $0.08 per serving.

Give your soup, salad, dips or rice dishes a nutrient boost by stirring in a few beans. Black beans have ten times the amount of antioxidants as oranges!

5. Nuts, Almonds, Pecans and Walnuts

Nuts provide protein to rebuild muscle, heart healthy monounsaturated fat, antioxidant rich Vitamin E, potassium for muscle contraction and blood pressure regulation, fiber and phytochemicals making them a nutrition powerhouse. According to the Food and Drug Administration "1 ½ ounces of nuts per day may help reduce the risk of heart disease, when consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol."

Mix a few almonds (and berries) into low-fat yogurt, trail mix, or fruit salads. A small handful as a mid- afternoon snack is also a great way to take the edge off your dinner hour hunger.

6. Soy Foods (Soybeans, Tofu, Soybean Oil)

7. Berries

8. Potassium Rich Foods (Tomatoes, Oranges, Potatoes, Avocado)

9. Sterol Rich Margarines

10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Bourbon Glazed Salmon


1 pound fresh salmon

¼ tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. ground black pepper

3/4 cup bourbon

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp. honey

1/2 tsp. ground mustard


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Make sure the salmon is dry and season it with coarse salt and pepper on both sides. Lay it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake 15-20 minutes or until internal temp of 145°F is reached. If your salmon is very thick, you may need to go a little longer.

3. Combine bourbon, sugar, mustard, garlic, honey, vinegar and Worcestershire in a small saucepan and whisk. Heat over high heat and allow it to come to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until mixture reduces by one-half. Pour mixture in a bowl and let sit at room temperature while the salmon cooks. Pour ½ the cooled sauce into a freezer bag for future use, label, date and freeze.

4. Remove the salmon from the oven and brush it with the remaining bourbon glaze. Place back in oven for 5 minutes.

Servings: 4

Time to Prepare: 15 minutes

Time to Cook: 20 minutes

Nutrition per Serving: Calories 370; Fat 7 g (sat 1 g); Protein 22 g; Cholesterol 60.5 mg; Sodium 250 mg; Fiber 0 g; Carbohydrate 37 g

Courtesy: Sheryl Lozicki


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment