Be Heart Smart for Under a Dollar

It's not that hard to eat healthy

The following heart-smart ingredients are all less than $1 per serving, free of artificial trans fat, and fairly low in saturated fat, while offering important nutrients. They are also widely available. Combine several of these ingredients to get a range of nutritious and delicious meals, suggest the nutrition experts at

  • Canola oil is the perfect base for any dish. Just 1.5 tablespoons of canola oil per day may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Canola oil is free of trans fat, and it has the least saturated fat and the most omega-3 fatty acids of all common cooking oils.
  • Lentils and dry beans (such as black beans and red kidney beans), contain nutrients found in both vegetable and meat food groups, including significant protein, fiber, folate, iron, and other minerals. Lentils and dry beans are naturally low in fat, calories, sodium, and sugar, and they have no cholesterol.
  • Both the chicken and the egg come first regarding nutrition. A skinless chicken breast has roughly 24 grams of complete protein and less than a gram of saturated fat. One egg has 13 essential nutrients, including protein, folate, choline, iron, and zinc, for only 75 calories.
  • Lean ground beef (95% lean) has only 2.4 grams of saturated fat and is high in protein, zinc, B vitamins, iron, selenium, and phosphorus. Low-fat cottage cheese is a great source of protein and calcium.
  • Not only high in protein and B vitamins, canned or pouch tuna and salmon are also excellent sources of heart-smart omega-3 fatty acids. Tuna and salmon also offer a range of minerals, such as selenium and phosphorus.
  • Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and green beans are free of saturated fat and cholesterol and good sources of fiber and antioxidants like vitamin C. Broccoli is also high in folate and a good source of potassium. Spinach is high in vitamin A, iron, and folate, and it's a good source of magnesium.
  • Apples, bananas, and citrus fruits are free of fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Apples are particularly high in fiber. Bananas are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. Oranges are also a good source of fiber, and pink/red grapefruit is high in vitamin A.
  • Whole grains are among the best sources of dietary fiber, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease. They also have some valuable antioxidants not found in fruits and vegetables as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, and magnesium.
  • Raisins are a good source of antioxidants, potassium, iron, and fiber. They contain no fat or cholesterol and are naturally low in sodium.
  • Grown-underground vegetables like carrots and potatoes have no fat or cholesterol and are low in sodium. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C with few calories. Potatoes are high in vitamin C and a good source of potassium.

Published April 23, 2009

Reviewed By: Shehnaz Shaikh, MD

© Consumer Health News Service

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