Our hearts power us through our day circulating oxygen and nutrients to our hungry cells. February is heart month, so why not show your heart a little love and return the favour with a few heart-healthy superfoods? Check out these easy-to-love food choices that are good for your tastebuds, heart and wallet. Many of these foods are locally grown, and by purchasing them you’re also caring for the planet—it is a veritable love fest!
Brightly coloured apple skins show off their antioxidant appeal. Anthocyanins in apples may help to lower blood cholesterol, as does the soluble fibre they contain.
Popeye was right – so eats your spinach! Boasting twice the iron of other greens, spinach has plenty of heart-healthy folate and plant sterols to lower cholesterol. Try a strawberry and spinach salad, which will add vitamin C to help make the iron in spinach more bioavailable.
Prunes contain potassium for healthy blood pressure and Quercetin, which helps prevent the harmful oxidation of LDL (“Bad”) cholesterol. The soluble fibre in prunes may also help to lower blood cholesterol for a healthy heart.
Remember baked beans on toast? Did you ever think it could be good for you? Stick to the tomato sauce version for less saturated fat and a dose of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Beans are a wonderful source of fibre – some brands have 6 grams of fibre per half cup! Baked beans also boast folate and selenium, an important antioxidant.
Pomegranate Juice High in potassium and polyphenols, pomegranate juice has been shown to reduce the amount of plaque in arteries and promote healthy blood pressure in some studies. One particular brand, POM wonderful, has been directly studied for its effects on diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Pumpkin Seeds Seeds are the oft-neglected cousin of nuts but their powerful nutrition shouldn’t be ignored. Pumpkin seeds are a heart-friendly star: rich in omega 3 fatty acids; plant sterols to help lower cholesterol and magnesium. You might never look at Jack O’ Lanterns the same way!
No super foods list is complete without mentioning green tea. The antioxidant EGCG in green tea may actually inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Green tea has also been studied for its potential benefits in heart disease and diabetes. Tea is a lower-caffeine alternative to coffee, and all teas contain an amino acid, theanine, which opposes the effects of caffeine, helping you to avoid the “jitters.”
Shiitakes have long been revered in Asia for their role in health. Eritadenine may help to lower cholesterol, while lentinan is being studied for its immune-boosting properties. Shiitakes also boast a healthy dose of good for your heart B vitamins.
Looking for more nutrition advice?
Book a healthy shopping tour with one of our nutrition consultants at www.choicesmarket.com.