Foods Your Heart Will Love
Tired of being TOLD what you can't have? Your heart -- and your taste buds -- will thank you for eating these delicious and healthy foods.
Tired of being told what you can't have? Your heart -- and your taste buds -- will thank you for eating these delicious and healthy foods. Cut back, don’t eat, avoid, limit, eat less of, stay away from, forbidden… There are plenty of negative words to keep our cravings in check. We lecture ourselves because heart disease is a top killer, so why wouldn’t we do whatever we could to prevent it? However, a dinner out or even a trip to the grocery store can be a frustrating experience as we mentally cross off foods that are on our diet’s black list. It’s time to turn that thinking around and stop focussing on the negatives. While there isn’t one particular food that can protect the heart on its own, here’s a quick overview of foods you can’t get enough of:
We’re always told to eat more vegetables, and with good reason. The nutrients and dietary fibre — not to mention low calorie count and little (if any) fat — make them a smart choice. There is a lot of research about the many health benefits of various kinds of vegetables, but it all boils down to this: Eat a variety of colours (especially orange, red and dark green vegetables like tomatoes and leafy greens) and eat a lot of them. Many of us have a good helping at dinner time, but we need to incorporate more veggies into our routines — like mushrooms and peppers in a breakfast omelette, a sandwich heaped with vegetable toppings at lunch and vegetable sticks (perhaps with a healthy dip) for a snack. Stir fries, grilled vegetables and salads are an easy way to get some variety — and they make great leftovers for lunch the next day.
You probably know much of the conventional wisdom about fruit: Citrus provides a vitamin C punch, whole fruit is better than juice, and dried fruit makes a sweet alternative to candy. Berries are a rich source of vitamin C, fibre and anti-oxidants, and cranberries prevent urinary tract infections. Purple grapes are also top the list of tasty and beneficial foods. But do you know how to sneak more of them into your diet? Dieticians such as Leslie Beck, author of Heart Healthy Foods for Life, recommend making fruit part of your routine — like regularly having a serving or two at breakfast or as a snack. Try slicing up some fruit for a salad with those dark leafy greens and top with a healthy oil and vinegar dressing. Toss some fruit — dried or fresh — into your baking or onto your morning cereal, and opt for marinated or grilled fruit for dessert. If you’re serving a crowd, fruit platters with a low-fat dip are sure to be a hit (especially when the temperatures climb). Admittedly, fruits and vegetables can get a little monotonous, so branch out and try something new. Try exotic fruits and vegetables for more variety. (They can be more expensive, so use them as an accent in mixed dishes).