Home Blog February 2015 Heart smart food bank donations

Heart smart food bank donations

Heart smart food bank donations

About 1.6 million Canadians currently have heart disease. And, 90 percent of individuals over age 20 are living with at least one risk factor of developing heart disease, which include smoking, physical inactivity, low consumption of vegetables and fruit, stress, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

These statistics clearly indicate that heart healthy eating is important for everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or income level. People living in poverty often struggle to access healthy food choices, and heart-healthy items from food banks can go a long way towards improving their diet.

If you are making a donation of non-perishable items to a food bank, consider the health benefits of the food you contribute. Here is a helpful list of heart-healthy items that are in high demand.

  1. High fibre foods: Fibre is important for heart health for several reasons. It can help with weight control and blood cholesterol management, which are risk factors for heart disease. Fibre-containing foods to donate include:
    • Oats
    • Unsweetened “regular” or “natural” oatmeal
    • Pot barley
    • Quinoa
    • Buckwheat
    • Whole grain flour
    • Whole grain or high fibre bran cereals
    • Whole grain pasta
    • Brown rice
  2. Smart protein choices: Meat is one of the most expensive items on most grocery lists, and healthy alternatives are available. Bonus: these items are low in saturated fat, and each contains at least one heart-smart nutrient such as fibre, omega-3 fat, vitamin E or potassium.
    • Canned tuna, salmon or sardines
    • Canned no-salt-added chickpeas, lentils and beans
    • Dry peas, beans and lentils
    • Peanut butter or other nut butters
    • Unsalted nuts or soy nuts
  3. Vegetables and fruit: A major risk factor of heart disease is consuming less than the recommended amount of vegetables and fruits each day, which is 7-10 servings for adults. The following contributions are always appreciated by food bank recipients:
    • Sodium-reduced tomato sauce
    • No-salt-added canned vegetables
    • Fruit canned in water
    • Fruit cups with no added sugar
    • Low sodium vegetable soups

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of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)