Issue link: http://magazine.progressivegrocer.com/i/689994
28 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | June 2016 A health concern that's top of mind to many Americans is taking care of their hearts, which aligns well with recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that heart disease continues to be the No. 1 killer of Americans. Fortunately, the best steps in the prevention of heart disease are modifable risk factors in lifestyle, in- cluding products tossed in your shoppers' carts. Retail dietitians are perfectly positioned to translate nutrition recommendations into purchases that customers can feel confdent will positively impact their heart health. Strong Evidence Te onset and progression of heart disease, in- cluding hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attacks and heart failure, can be manipulated by our diets and other health behaviors. Te American Heart Association (AHA) designed a metric in 2010, Life's Simple 7, as a tool to help improve car- diovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, and reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, by the year 2020. Tese seven pillars are not smoking, increasing physical activity, following a healthy diet, and control of body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. Joint AHA and American College of Cardiology (ACC) guidelines say that reducing dietary sodium, fol- lowing a DASH eating plan, and reducing body weight are strong predictors of heart health. DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, strongly encourages fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while also support- ing beans, seeds, nuts, fsh, poultry and low-fat dairy consumption, as well as the limitation of saturated fat, red meat, added sugar and sodium. Eating for Heart Health Easy steps can encourage customers to take constructive action. All's Wellness By Molly Hembree Retail dietitians are perfectly positioned to translate nutrition recommendations into purchases that customers can feel confident will positively impact their heart health. Putting Recommendations Into Practice May was Mediterranean Diet Month (a dietary pattern that closely resembles DASH, with extra emphasis on plant-based approaches and moder- ate wine and olive oil consumption), and June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month. Tese promo- tions provide retailers with a terrifc opportunity to spotlight their promising spreads of good-for-you oferings, particularly in produce. Reconsider classic marketing approaches by engag- ing the beverage aisle to reinvent go-to drinks: Tink 100 percent juices or low-fat dairy/nondairy milks pureéd with greens, stone fruits or berries for exciting smoothies, or perhaps elevate the herb and spice cat- egory by suggesting a DIY melon, cucumber or citrus sparkling water laced with mint or cinnamon. Seize the opportunity by showcasing exotic, or maybe simply more uncommon, fruits and veg- etables in your programming. Eye-catching fruits such as jackfruit, dragon fruit, starfruit, or even the likes of pomegranate or kiwi, can spark excitement, especially during themed sampling or recipe demos. Innovative uses of time-tested favorite vegetables — fresh or frozen — can also seize the attention of shoppers: pureéd caulifower for a mashed potato replacement, spaghetti squash as a pasta alternative, or artichoke petals in place of tortilla chips. Increasing Engagement Oldways, a Boston-based organization with posi- tive messaging grounded in science and real food, ofers excellent Mediterranean Diet materials on its website, www.oldwayspt.org, while the Hockessin, Del.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), the brains behind the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters campaign, provides relevant fruit and veggie insights, tips, and recipes at www.fruitsand- veggiesmorematters.org. Resources such as these, as well as the nutritional expertise of retail dietitians, can truly position retail- ers to have customers' best interests "at heart" as a health-and-wellness destination. PG Molly Hembree is a registered dietitian and retail dietitian coordinator for Kroger and The Little Clinic.