Top Fruits and Veggies to Plant for Heart Health This Spring.

hands holding seeds

May 06, 2022

Clinical Contributors to this story:
Jason Sayanlar, M.D.
Kristin A Kozakowski, M.D.

Connecting with Jason Sayanlar, M.D., FACC, a cardiologist at Hackensack University Medical Center, he lettuce know the top fruits and vegetables to plant for heart health this spring. 

“Vegetables in general are good for your heart; rich in vitamins and antioxidants, they’re what we should be filling our plates with,” shares Dr. Sayanlar. “Any fruit is better than processed foods like cookies or crackers, but some do contain more sugar than others.”

Heart Healthy Fruits & Veggies to Plant This Spring 

  1. Leafy green vegetables: Broccoli, swiss chard, kale, brussel sprouts, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, asparagus
    “It’s always a good idea to ‘go green’ when it comes to your vegetables,” adds Dr. Sayanlar. “Just keep in mind that some leafy green vegetables are high in vitamin K which can counteract the effects of blood thinners, so consult with your cardiologist before making any big food shifts.”
  2. Berries: Blueberries, black berries, raspberries 
    “Berries are our go-to for heart healthy fruits, apples are also a good option, and are lower in sugar than fruits like pineapple or banana,” says Dr. Sayanlar. “But if it comes down to it, and you’re choosing between a banana and a granola bar, go with the banana.”
  3. Bell peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, carrots

Heart Healthy Preparation & Tips for the Grocery Store

If you don’t have a green thumb, or the time to plant a garden, you can still make heart healthy choices at the grocery store or market.  

  1. Preparation matters
    “Leafy greens are a great choice, but try not to drench them in oil and butter,” adds Dr. Sayanlar. “Protein shakes are a great option for these greens.”
  2. Look out for sodium in prepared or canned foods
    “Unfortunately, things that are convenient are typically bad for you - frozen, canned or takeout meals are an easy way to get veggies, but they negate that cardiovascular benefit because of the amount of sodium,” advises Dr. Sayanlar. “Pay attention to the sodium content on the package, fresh is always better.”
  3. Keep an eye on sugar content
    “Particularly for fruits that are dried, you should look at their sugar content,” adds Dr. Sayanlar. “For example, dried apricots have way more sugar than fresh, even frozen apricots are a better option.”
  4. Don’t forget to look at portion sizes
    Portion sizes can be misleading on packaging, which can lead you to overindulge and negate the benefit that food brings.

“Nothing should be consumed in super excess - make these choices part of a balanced diet instead of overindulging in one type of fruit or vegetable,” concludes Dr. Sayanlar.

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.



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