Your Heart-Healthy Summer Guide

With its abundance of fresh, local produce and sunny weather for outdoor activities, summer is the perfect time of year to embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle. Follow these seasonal tips to protect your ticker – and look and feel your best.

Grab some fruit.

Tis the season for juicy, hydrating, antioxidant-rich fruit — a perfect recipe for healthy summer snacking. Berries (especially raspberries and blackberries) are loaded with fiber, and melon is a great source of potassium, a mineral that can help lower blood pressure. Use watermelon, canteloupe, or honeydew to make these refreshing frozen melon kebabs.

Say YES to veggies!

Stock up on inexpensive summer bumper crops like zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, and tomatoes at the supermarket, farm stand, or greenmarket. They’re terrific steamed, grilled, or raw in fresh, crisp salads. You can even slice zucchini into thin strips to create an ultra low-cal, low-carb pasta swap!

Cool off smart.

When you’re craving a cool treat, satisfy your sweet tooth with nutrient-rich smoothies, instead of a big bowl of ice cream. Fresh and frozen fruit deliver fiber and antioxidants, while low-fat yogurt and milk supply potassium. Try my popular Green Tea-Mango, Blueberry-Pomegranate, and Fruity Chia blends.

Say NO to sugary drinks.

Ditch lemonade, sweet tea, soda, and other sugary beverages – they’re bad news for your heart. A recent study found that people who consumed the most added sugar in their diet had a significantly higher risk of dying from heart disease. Instead, stay cool and hydrated with naturally sugar-free drinks, including good ol’ H2O, seltzer (or sparkling water), and unsweetened iced tea and coffee. For a fun, fruity option, brew up a pitcher of my refreshing Raspberry-Peach Iced Tea.

Go play!

Take advantage of the gorgeous weather and motivating sunshine by taking your workout outdoors whenever possible. Walking is always a terrific option, but you can also change things up by going swimming and canoeing, golfing with friends, or joining a softball league. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.

If you’re planning a vacation, build fun outdoor activities into your itinerary. Do some research in advance to find out if there are hiking trails, bike rentals, water sport offerings, or other unique fitness opportunities in the area. If you’re headed to a big city, look online for printable maps of popular walking routes with plenty of great sightseeing. And, of course, there’s always my personal favorite – beach walking!


Too much stress taxes your heart. Fortunately, summer tends to be a more relaxing, slower-paced time of year, so now’s the ideal time to catch up on some much-needed R&R. Read a few easy “beach books,” take in some gorgeous sunsets, and plan fun get-togethers with friends and family. You deserve a break!

Scoping out the farmers market for seasonal produce? Here are some delicious fruits and veggies you’ll want to pick up while you can.