grilled skewers

Looking for heart healthy food for your next picnic or cookout? Warm weather offers lots of choices for heart-healthy eating, from fresh fruits and vegetables to healthy grilling ideas.

You might be surprised to learn that some of your summer favorites are not only good at keeping you cool, but they’re good for your heart, as well. Check out these tips to beat the heat and stay heart-healthy this summer.

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Stay Hydrated

A heart that gets enough water, or is well-hydrated, can pump blood better. How much water you need depends on what you’re doing, and how hot it is. For example, a hike on a hot summer day will probably make you sweat more than relaxing in the shade by the pool. No matter what you’re doing, keep water close by, and drink before you feel thirsty.

Besides drinking water, you can also get water from the foods you eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a good idea year-round and can help cool you down on hot summer days.

Some summer favorites are more than 90 percent water, including:

Pick Fresh, In-season Foods

Heart healthy food is on hand at your local farmer’s market. Colorful, fresh fruits, and vegetables are lower in calories and are both cholesterol- and sodium-free. They also have vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that help your body stay healthy.

And, fresh fruits and vegetables can keep you cool in more ways than one. Beyond being water-rich, you can eat most of them raw, with no need to turn on the stove.

Grill the Heart Healthy Way

The next time you fire up your grill, why not try a heart-healthy substitute for hamburgers and hot dogs? Some ideas include:

Still want a burger? Choose lean or extra-lean beef, and think about these alternatives to traditional hamburger buns for a refreshing twist.

About Heart and Vascular Institute

The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine. We strive to provide the most advanced, cutting-edge care for our patients, treating both common and complex conditions. We also offer services that seek to improve the health of our communities, including heart screenings, free clinics, and heart health education. Find an expert near you.