In commemoration of February, and also American Hearth Month (Dulan), below is a list of four red foods that provide the ultimate heart health. Enjoy!
1. Strawberries – Did you know that amount of Vitamin C in an orange is equivalent to the amount of Vitamin C in eight strawberries (Dulan)? Another health benefit of strawberries is that they contain folate which is great for your heart (Mann). Try to keep in mind when purchasing these fruits that they are on the “Dirty Dozen” list. Pesticides from conventional farming practices do adhere easily to these fruits, so if your budget allows, it is best to purchase organic strawberries.
2. Red Bell Peppers – Unlike green bell peppers, red bell peppers contain lycopene, a compound that not only fights against heart disease, but also certain types of cancers (Dulan). In addition, red bell peppers have plenty of antioxidants, including Vitamin A and C, and in a mere cup, there are approximately 160 milligrams of potassium (Dulan)! Again, because red bell peppers don’t have much of a protective exterior, pesticides leach onto them easily; therefore, if your budget allows, buy organic here too!
3. Red Grapefruit – Pink grapefruit has just as many health benefits, but try to stay away from the white, which doesn’t contain lycopene (Mann). Red grapefruit is a great source of Vitamin C, as well as pectin, which helps the body regulate cholesterol levels (Mann). Keep in mind that red grapefruit are on the “Clean Fifteen” list, making it perfectly legitimate to buy them conventionally grown. Its firm exterior blocks pesticides from reaching the fruit inside.
4. Cranberries – These berries have a mega-house of nutrients known as proanthocyanidins which are especially important because they help the body prevent and ward off cancer by defending it against free radicals (Mann). Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to incorporate cranberries into your diet, so here are a few suggestions: 1) Whenever you prepare a roasted chicken, use cranberries for the stuffing (Mann) 2) Toss a handful of fresh cranberries into your morning oatmeal 3) Add cranberries to homemade bread, muffin, or pancake recipes
Let me know how you like to enjoy these four heart healthy foods!
Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,
Dulan, Mitzi. “5 Red Foods to Eat for Your Heart.” U.S. News 5 Feb. 2013: Web. 3 Jan. 2014. <http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/02/05/5-red-foods-to-eat-for-your-heart>
Mann, Denise. “Red Foods: The New Health Powerhouses?” WebMD. WebMD, LLC, 2008. Web. 3 Jan. 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/red-foods-the-new-health-powerhouses>