Serve Up Summer Produce for a Healthy Heart

About one in every three adults has high blood pressure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Elevated blood pressure makes the heart work harder and if left high for too long, can damage it. The gold standard for treatment has been to follow a low-sodium diet, but emerging research is showing that increased fruit and vegetable intake may be another effective tool.

A study published in the April 2017 issue of the American Journal of Physiology concluded that raising potassium in the diet may both counterbalance the impact of high-sodium consumption and lower blood pressure. We can get more potassium by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. While we still need a low-sodium diet, gives even more reason to boost nutrient-packed produce.

Dietary guidelines recommend filling half our plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal, which can be a challenge; but summer is in full swing and produce is at its peak of flavor. Try grilling favorite potassium-rich fruits to bring out their natural sweetness, such as grilled peaches paired with pork chops or grilled bananas on ice cream. Don’t forget the veggie; add sweet corn to a leafy green salad and grilled asparagus on a hearty pizza.

Holly Doan, RD, LDN, is an in-store nutritionist for Giant Food Stores. She is conducting a free two-part workshop series on nutrition in July; call 717-909-7012 for details and registration.

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