Taking the Shopping Cart to Heart

According to Firefighter Jeff Sutherlin of the Cypress, CA, Fire Department, finding the best deals at the supermarket can be tough. However, what's even tougher is finding foods that give energy and support a healthy heart. "I try to choose healthy foods...

To summarize, Hewitt suggests, "To keep our hearts and bodies ever ready, shop for foods that are high in fiber, low in sugar, low in fat and low in salt. This keeps us at top performance."

PAMELA WILLIAMS, MPH, RD, is a registered dietician with over 25 years of experience teaching, coaching, counseling and training people to eat and live healthy in clinics, schools, organizations, colleges and corporations. She is a co-editor of the textbook Integrating Therapeutic and Complementary Nutrition. She holds a master's degree in public health nutrition and health education from Loma Linda University in California.

Sodium — salt, monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrate, soy sauce Sodium can increase blood pressure in some people, which can increase heart disease risk. No more than 2,300 mg a day. Read labels and see how much sodium is in foods — especially packaged ones.
Caffeine — sodas, energy drinks, coffee, tea, chocolate Caffeine can temporarily increase blood pressure or cause the heart to race in some people. This may affect heart disease risk. Moderate intake — no more than 300 mg a day or about 2 cups of coffee or 32 oz of caffeinated sodas
Refined grains — cookies, breads, cakes, crackers, pasta Refined grains generally lack fiber. Soluble fiber such as oatmeal helps lower cholesterol, which helps lower heart disease risk 25 mg fiber a day — the average person gets about 5 mg per day — oatmeal, whole grain breads are fiber rich foods
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) — sodas, cookies, jelly, baked goods HFCS contains a sugar called fructose. When we process this sugar, it does not regulate appetite. This might cause weight gain and increased heart disease risk. None — no limits for high fructose corn syrup but minimize intake
Saturated Fats/Trans Fats — animal fat, palm oil, lard, coconut oil, hydrogenated oil, partially hydrogenated oil Saturated and trans fats can collect along the walls of arteries. This can harden arteries and increase heart disease risk. Choose monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids. These offer health benefits while saturated and trans fats do not. Olive and canola oil are healthy choices.