With that said, if you’re in the market (pun intended) to add more heart-healthy foods to your cart, rest assured that TJ’s has you covered. To get an expert's take on the best heart-healthy Trader Joe’s products (think snacks, dips, desserts, and more) we reached out to Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, of Real Nutrition in New York City.
But before we jump into her top picks at Trader Joe’s, Shapiro shares that a typical heart-healthy diet should be rich in the following macronutrients and micronutrients:
- Fiber (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables)
- Omega-3 fatty acids (sardines, salmon, trout, and seeds)
- Lean, high-quality protein (fish, poultry, and legumes)
- Healthy fats (non-tropical vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds)
- Antioxidants (fresh or frozen produce, olive oil, dark chocolate)
7 heart-healthy Trader Joe's products a dietitian swears by
This versatile snack is Shapiro’s go-to thanks to the robust amount of heart-healthy nutrients you'll spot on its ingredients list. “These crispbreads are full of seeds, which are super high in fiber and protein,” she says. “Fiber is cardioprotective and helps bring LDL ('bad') cholesterol down.” Shapiro says that consuming 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day is ideal—which you can get via whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Meanwhile, quality protein (through animal or plant-based sources) is essential for your cardiovascular system, brain health, and muscle functioning. Finally, Shapiro adds that the flax seeds in these crispbreads contain omega-3s, which are a key type of heart-healthy fat that many aren't eating enough of. She recommends pairing these crunchy crackers—which pack three grams of fiber and four grams of protein per crispbread—with cheese, hummus, and/or a veggie plate for a well-balanced snack.
Can’t ever seem to satisfy your avocado fix? Fortunately, these nutrient-dense fruits get a clinically-backed seal of approval as a heart-healthy food, so eat up to your heart’s content… literally. In fact, a March 2022 study shows that higher avocado consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease in adults. While you’ll surely reap these benefits by slicing up a fresh avocado, Shapiro love that this TJ’s guacamole is made mostly of whole ingredients and (read: no suspicious preservatives). Not to mention the fact that it’s super convenient to have on hand as a dip or spread.
A heart-healthy diet is one that is well-balanced, and Shapiro likes that these crackers contain an adequate mixture of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. And because they also contain flax seeds and chia seeds, she again calls out that they’re a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Lastly, beet powder doesn’t only offer a pretty hue: It's worthy benefits for your heart as well. “Beets contain a high concentration of nitrates, which can help lower blood pressure,” Shapiro shares. Top these seedy crackers with cream cheese and a sliced of smoked salmon for the ultimate omega-3 and protein-rich appetizer or afternoon snack.
You can also try dipping them in this delicious, heart-healthy vegan buffalo cauliflower dip:
Olive oil is another tried-and-true dietary powerhouse for heart health. After all, it’s a staple in the longevity-promoting Mediterranean diet thanks to its impressive nutrient profile. First, Shapiro mentions that olive oil is a great source of anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fatty acids and a good source of vitamins E and K. “Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that doubles as an antioxidant, and vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting, heart health, bone health, and more,” she explains. Lastly, Shapiro says olive oil is high in antioxidants, which combat free radicals and inflammation in the body, which can cause harm to the cardiovascular system and many other functions of the body.
Nuts are one of the healthiest snacks around—so much so, in fact, that “people who regularly eat them are less likely to have heart attacks or die from heart disease than those who rarely eat them,” Shapiro says. Whether you opt for this seasoned TJ’s nut mix—which also contains Kalamata olives, a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids—or another bag of your choice, Shapiro says that a one-ounce serving per day is ideal to maximize their heart-friendly potential.
According to Shapiro, these sardines are amongst the best of the best when it comes to heart-healthy Trader Joe's products, largely because they’re a super source of omega-3 fatty acids. “Thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3s help prevent heart disease, reduce the risk of blood clots, and lower blood pressure,” she says. Shapiro also mentions that sardines are an excellent source of vitamin B12, which not only boosts energy but also provides cardioprotective benefits.
Finally, to our delight, Shapiro gives a big green light to dark chocolate as a heart-healthy food—just make sure it packs a minimum of 70 percent cacao and that you enjoy it in, you know, moderation. “Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that lower the risk of heart disease,” she says. As an added bonus, this delectable dessert “can also decrease inflammation, and it's a tasty way to fill up on fiber and magnesium, which can both improve digestion and mood,” Shapiro adds.
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