Heart-healthy eating with fresh summer produce


In this article:

  • Learn how to take advantage of peak produce season to keep your heart healthy all summer long.

  • Research shows that diets high in meat, especially red meat, can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • Providence registered dietitian Christy Goff shares tips for shopping for produce to make healthy meals.

When the weather warms up and summer moves in, farmers’ markets and grocery stores are piled high with bright and plump produce. ‘Tis the season for the crispest greens, the juiciest tomatoes, and the sweetest berries.

Not only are these fruits and veggies tastier in their peak season, they’re also more nutritious. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals that can benefit your health in many ways — especially your heart.

Eating a well-balanced, plant-based diet can go a long way in improving your cardiovascular health, which translates to a longer, more active life. So why not take advantage of the season and boost your heart health during the summer? Below are some tips, resources, and recipes to help you stay on track.

Shop smart

Do you feel overwhelmed when you step inside a grocery store? Are you drawn to those middle aisles filled with chips and snack foods?

If this sounds like you, take a deep breath and check out the latest episode of the #ShopWithaDoc podcast with Christy Goff, registered dietitian from Pacific Medical Center Washington. During the episode, Christy shares her tips for how to shop for groceries with healthy eating in mind.


Get the most out of your summer produce

Because fruits and vegetables are especially good for your heart, it’s important to get the most out of your produce purchases this summer. 

In this blog post, Chef Tse shares her pro tips for storing produce properly, as well as a few healthy summer recipes you can use to take advantage of those in-season fruits and veggies.

Buy a little extra to help you eat healthy year-round

Just because fresh produce is best in summer doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it later in the year. You can still get the heart-healthy benefits of greens, berries, tomatoes and more by freezing, pickling and drying. If you can, buy a little extra at the farmers’ market each week and spend some time storing the produce for later in the year.

Check out these tips and recipes to make your produce last.

Swap meat-centric meals for veggie-based alternatives

Eating a plant-based diet is a great way to stay heart-healthy. Research has shown that diets high in meat (especially red meat) can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Removing meat from your diet can be a big step. If you’re not ready for that leap, try using delicious, filling vegetarian alternatives. Swap in these veggie-friendly meals once or twice a week and work your way up to a more plant-based meal plan.

For example, jackfruit, which is a popular meat alternative, is also in season from spring to late summer. Take advantage of this versatile fruit with these tips and recipes.

Find healthy recipes for the grill

For many people, summertime is synonymous with grilling season. And with that season comes lots of red and processed meat, including steaks, cheeseburgers and hot dogs — none of which fit into a heart-healthy diet.

Luckily, there are plenty of healthy ways to enjoy a backyard barbecue without the saturated fat and processed foods. processed foods. Check out these ideas for planning a healthy cookout. With these healthy eating tips and recipes, you can take full advantage of the bounty of summer while also keeping your heart healthy and strong.


Find a doctor

If you want more advice on how to maintain a heart-healthy diet, reach out to your doctor or dietitian. You can find a Providence doctor using our provider directory


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Related resources

Deliciously simple vegetarian recipes

10 tips for becoming a healthy meal prep expert

Hearty and healthy comfort food for meat lovers

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Heart & Vascular Team is committed to bringing you many years of expertise and experience to help you understand how to prevent, treat and recover from cardiovascular diseases and conditions. From tips to eating better to exercise and everything in between, our clinical experts know how to help you help your heart.

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