Healthy eating starts with having the right heart-healthy foods in your kitchen. They help lower cholesterol and keep your blood pressure in check. If you aren't sure which foods to buy, print this list to take to the supermarket.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, fruits and veggies also have fiber, which lowers cholesterol and improves heart health. Pull them out first when you want something to eat. Remember, you need 5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day.
- Bell peppers
- Dark leafy greens
Dairy and Dairy Alternatives: One recent study showed that people who ate low-fat dairy foods had a 12% lower risk of certain types of stroke compared with people who ate whole-fat dairy. So skip the cream and choose low-fat.
- Buttermilk, low-fat or nonfat buttermilk
- Cheese, nonfat or reduced-fat
- Cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, nonfat or 1%
- Cream cheese, nonfat or light cream cheese
- Creamers, nonfat
- Milk, skim or 1% milk
- Sour cream, nonfat
- Soy-based cheeses (bricks, slices, or shredded)
- Soy-based yogurts
- Soymilk (unsweetened to avoid extra sugar)
- Yogurt, nonfat or 1%
Meat, Poultry, Fish, and Meat Substitutes: Swap out fatty red meat for fish -- it's associated with a lower risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association suggests 2 servings of fish a week. Eat more heart-healthy tofu and other soy protein too. Limit red meat.
- Beef, lean cuts and lean ground round or sirloin
- Chicken or turkey breasts and tenders, skinless, boneless
- Chicken or turkey, ground
- Fish, high in omega-3s, such as herring, mackerel, salmon, trout, tuna
- Pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
Frozen Foods: When your favorite fruits and veggies are out of season, choose frozen ones for nutritious desserts, side dishes, and snacks.
- Fruits without added sugar (for example, frozen blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, or raspberries)
- Soybeans (edamame)
- Vegetables and vegetable blends without added sauce, gravy, or sodium
Beans, Grains, Soups, and Sauces: Beans and whole grains offer fiber to help lower your cholesterol.
- Beans, canned, reduced sodium: Assorted cans of beans such as black, garbanzo, kidney, lentils, navy, and pinto
- Beans, dried: Choose your favorite beans
- Broth, reduced-sodium chicken, beef, or vegetable
- Cereals, whole-grain (Note: Choose cereals that contain 5 or more grams of dietary fiber and fewer than 8 grams of sugar per serving)
- Flaxseed, ground or whole
- Flour, whole-wheat flour
- Grains such as wheat berries, couscous, polenta, millet, bulgur, or quinoa
- Oat bran
- Oats, rolled, steel cut, or Irish
- Pasta sauce, low-fat or fat-free
- Pasta, whole-wheat, spelt, or kamut (Note: These whole-grain pastas come in bowtie, fettuccini, lasagna, spaghetti, fusilli, spiral, elbow macaroni, and ravioli varieties)
- Rice: brown, wild, and brown basmati
- Soup, 98% fat-free cream of mushroom and low-sodium soups
- Soy flour
- Tomato paste
- Tomatoes, whole or diced, reduced-sodium
- Vegetarian or nonfat refried beans