You’ve probably heard about a few nutrition practices that are good for your ticker — like following a Mediterranean diet, eating less red meat, watching sodium, and even eating dark chocolate. If you’re looking for new foods to add to your heart-healthy menu, consider these 2019 trends. These food suggestions come from both the nutrition experts at national grocery store chains and trends based on the latest health research and the foods hitting supermarket shelves. Add these better-for-you options to your shopping cart for delicious, fresh ways to help your heart stay healthy and strong.
Faux Meat Snacks
The vegetarian and vegan lifestyle seems to be here to stay, with The Economist calling 2019 ‘The Year of Vegan’. It seems that more packaged food companies are offering products to satisfy those meatless cravings. This trend is a good thing since eating a plant-based diet is good for your heart. Brands are using mushrooms to supplement meat flavors in “jerky” and “pork-flavored” alternative snacks. Check out your local natural foods store to look for some of these latest vegetarian and vegan-packaged products. Just be sure to read nutrition labels for the sodium content, which may be high in these products and are not good for your heart.
Pacific Rim Flavors
One of the hottest food trends popping up is flavors from the Pacific Rim area: Oceania, Asia, and the western coasts of North and South America. You might find guava, passion fruit, and dragon fruit in dishes in 2019. Jackfruit is a popular meat alternative being used in vegan tacos, curries, burritos and even as a vegan “pulled pork.” Jackfruit is high in antioxidants like carotenoids, which help lower inflammation, as well as flavanones, which have anti-inflammatory properties and according to research may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Thanks to trendy diets like Keto and Paleo, fats like coconut butter and grass-fed ghee are growing in popularity and appearing in a number of food products. Coconut oil has more saturated fat than butter, but it raises the good, HDL, cholesterol in the blood. Grass-fed ghee is a clarified butter that’s gluten-free and it can be good for people who normally have trouble digesting dairy. Even though these butters are considered healthier, it’s still important to consume them in moderation.
Sustainable Eating Trends
Although many of us think of sustainable eating as a plant-based eating style, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics the concept of sustainability is applied toward the production of food and animal or plant products using farming practices that conserve natural resources and reduce their overall impact on the environment. To apply that to your own life, you could shop at farmer’s markets for locally grown foods that didn’t travel far, eat fresh fruits and vegetables in season, or start a small garden at home. Increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables is not only good for your health in general, but it’s also good for your heart.
High-Fiber Ancient Grains
In case you haven’t heard, Americans aren’t getting as much fiber in their diets as they should. If you want to reduce your risk of cardiovascular-related mortality, a new analysis from the World Health Organization suggests that higher fiber consumption has benefits that can help protect against cardiovascular disease, amongst other diseases, and some cancers. The analysis found that among those who had a greater intake of fiber, there was a 15-30 percent decrease in deaths from all causes, as well as cardiovascular-related mortality. Although it’s smart to increase daily fiber by eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains should be included in moderation in your diet since they are an important source of dietary fiber with heart health benefits. Research found that some ancient grains, like Khorasan wheat (Kamut), could help reduce cardiovascular risk factors as well. Look for this ancient wheat in the international food aisle or order it online, and pair it with marinara or as part of a casserole for dinner.
Sea Plant Snacks
Consumers who enjoy seaweed snacks might want to try some of the latest sea plant food trends appearing on supermarket shelves. Buyers at national grocery store chains say that seaweed butter and kelp noodles will be available this year and that consumers are interested in products that feature varietals like algae and kelp. Sea plants contain antioxidants that, according to research, can help reduce the effect of free radicals in the body which have been linked to heart disease. Look for packaged tuna made with algae and other specialty sea plant products in a variety of flavors.