22 Feb Heart Healthy Foods
What do beets and chocolate have in common?
The food you chose to eat can either be a slow form of poison over-time or can be everything you need to heal and prevent disease. Food in it’s most natural state is medicine and does more for your body than any pill ever will. Once we start looking at food as fuel and preventive medicine we can look past short term things like packaging and the ‘engineered’ good taste from many of today’s ‘artificial’ foods.
On your next trip to the grocery store, here are four “heart healthy” foods to consider throwing in your basket:
Dark Chocolate Did you know that the flavonoids found in cocoa fight cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure and prevent stroke? It is true; but before you start indulging in ANY and all chocolate, realize that ONLY dark chocolate offers health benefits, and the higher the cocoa content, the better. European chocolates tend to be higher in cocoa than US chocolates which tend to be the ‘milk’ variety. However, small portions are KEY. Healthy or not, dark chocolate can be pretty calorie dense. The studies have not narrowed down a specific portion size but Harvard Medical School and the Cleveland Clinic recommend a 1 ounce serving approximately three times per week. SO, indulge!
Root Vegetables We often think of summer as having the best fruits and vegetables but winter offers yummy choices as well! Root vegetables are very heart healthy and are in season NOW. A couple good choices you may have normally passed over are
- Turnips- Choose– young, short, and fat ones. They should be creamy white with purple shading at the top, 3” or less in diameter. Need an idea of what to do with them? Try this recipe for turnips & ginger. Peel and cut turnips in wedges, toss with minced fresh ginger, and 1TSP. grapeseed oil, a dash of sea salt & pepper drizzle, put on rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tsp of raw honey and bake @400 until tender- SO good!
- Beets- Are low calorie, high in fiber and nutrients . The antioxidants present in beet’s root as well as top greens offer protection against coronary artery disease, stroke, lower cholesterol levels in the body and mirror anti-aging effects. Beets are also high in potassium which promotes a healthy metabolism. Choose- fresh, bright, firm textured beets. Avoid those with slump looking or soft in consistency. Store– beet greens (tops) should be used immediately. Beet root can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Also, note that beets are a great, natural food color. Add a little crushed beet to your favorite, multi-grain pancake mix and make your kids red heart shaped pancakes. You can also top salads with raw shredded beets for some added texture, color and nutrients. Not sold on the idea of beets? Try them in a juice. Here is a recipe from my smoothie and juice book to try:
1 stalk of celery
1 inch of cucumber section
Put all through your juicer. Serve over ice to maximize flavor
Walnuts are often considered the “King” of all nuts for their many health benefits over other nuts. A serving size of walnuts contains twice as many antioxidants as other nuts. They a rich source of the omega-3 fat, high quality protein, fiber, are gluten and dairy free, and you only need about 7 walnuts per day to reap the benefits such as a decreased risk of heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, and type 2 diabetes.
So there you have it, 4 healthy additions to your diet today.
Excuses or Solutions, YOU decide