Wear Red for Heart HealthHappy February!  Today kicks off American Heart Month with “National Wear Red Day” to show your support and create awareness about ways to prevent heart disease.  Your heart health is important - heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in America.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 90 seconds a women has a heart attack in the United States.   So, let’s talk prevention.

With healthful eating being one of the major tenets for keeping your heart healthy (along with decreasing alcohol use, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking and physical inactivity); try to get some of these foods in.

Top 3 Foods for Heart Heath

 

TEA

Glass teapot and tea cup

Image courtesy of karenhickman.wordpress.com.

Make time for tea today!  There are over 100 studies on tea and heart health and statistics show that 160 million Americans are drinking tea daily with black tea topping the list with 85 percent of people choosing black tea.

Research for the Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health,  revealed that drinking only a cup a day of black tea can keep your blood vessel functioning well (even after a high fat meal) and lower blood pressure, reduce the incidence of stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular disease by 10 percent.

The good news you are getting a lot of nutritional value for your buck - it costs a mere 3 cents to brew a cup of tea at home.  Steep it for 3 - 4 minutes to get the best benefits - and choose it unsweetened, iced or hot.

BERRIES

Strawberries

Image courtesy of driscolls.com.

Who doesn’t love to sweet pop of a fresh berries in your mouth?  From strawberries to blueberries to raspberries, exciting research is pinpointing a “berry benefit” for your heart.  Recent research in the American Heart Associations’ journal, Circulation, revealed from the Nurses’ Health Study II, which recorded the eating habits of 93,600 women ages 25- 42 years old over 18 years, that women who regularly ate (3 servings per week) strawberries and blueberries lowered their risk of heart attack by one-third over those women who didn’t eat berries regularly.  What’s the magic in berries?  It’s the bold colors from compounds called anthocyanins that are believed to dilate arteries and prevent the build up of plaque or the condition, atherosclerosis, from occuring.  This bodes well for heart health.

So how are you going to get your three servings (at least) of berries a week?  Cut up strawberries over oatmeal, toss into salads and smoothies and sprinkle over plain yogurt.  Enjoy some berries for your hearth today!

PISTACHIOS 

Pistachio heart

Image courtesy of pistachiohealth.com.

Pistachios (and other tree nuts like almonds) are heart health powerhouses.  These little nuts offer a complete package of hearth health benefits as they are  jam-packed with plant-based nutrients called phytosterols, which are great for keeping cholesterol levels in check; heart-healthy, unsaturated fats for keeping blood vessels flexible; fiber for arterial and intestinal health, and plant-proteins for fueling muscles and keeping blood sugar levels steady.

Recent research in Nutrition Reviews revealed that pistachios have blood pressure lowering properties with their high potassium levels - and five randomised trials on heart health showed that pistachios are good for blood lipid levels - so they keep the LDL (bad) cholesterol down and the HDL (good) cholesterol up. So there are scientific reasons to suggest that eating 1.5 ounces of nuts like pistachios a day is good for your heart health.  Plus, their is research to suggest that pistachios help with weight management, as well blood sugar control - all good for your heart over the long term.

Grab a handful of pistachios as a snack or sprinkle pistachios into sauces, soups and yogurt.  A serving of pistachios is 49 kernels.

Enjoy feeding your heart well!

-VSR

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for checking out my lifestyle tips and recipes today!

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