The Produce Moms founder, Lori, is an ambassador for the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. Together we can eat more fruits and veggies!
For Heart’s Sake – Eat a Plant!
We can’t help but say it again—No food, bite for bite, is better for your body than fruits and veggies. So, eat a plant for heart’s sake! Fruits and vegetables fuel your day, fill your belly, keep you healthy and make you feel good too.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States (Center for Disease Control). Your heart has an important job, it is the control center of your circulatory system, responsible for pumping blood and supplying nutrients and oxygen to the rest of your body. All while removing carbon dioxide and waste. It’s a pretty big deal, and something to take to heart!
How Do You know What Foods are Healthy for Your Heart?
The American Heart Association established a Heart-Check Foods program over 20 years ago to simplify heart-smart shopping. When you see the official Heart-Check mark you know you are making a wise choice for your health. Developed with transparent science-based criteria, you can trust the mark!
To be Heart-Check certified, foods must provide 10% or more of one of six key nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber), have 1g or less saturated fat per standard serving size, and 15% or fewer calories coming from saturated fat, have less than .5g trans fat per standard serving size (partially hydrogenated oils are not eligible for certification), have limited sodium and low cholesterol.
10 Heart Healthy Produce Picks
When it comes to heart health, you really can’t go wrong eating from the produce section. Whether you pick fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and veggies, every bite counts! Color your plate and pamper your heart—here are some selections to get you off to a great start.
An abundance of Vitamin K found in leafy greens like kale, collards, spinach, parsley, and broccoli promotes healthy arteries. A diet rich in leafy greens can also help lower high blood pressure.
Berries are rich in antioxidants, like anthocyanin, which helps reduce coronary inflammation. Including raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berries in your diet can reduce your risks for heart disease.
Monounsaturated fats found in avocados can help reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels. Avocados are also a great source of Potassium which can decrease risks for high blood pressure.
Regular garlic consumption can help reduce high blood pressure and undesirable cholesterol levels. Raw garlic provides maximum health benefits.
Members of the soybean family, like edamame, are rich in isoflavones which can reduce bad cholesterol levels. High in fiber and antioxidants too, edamame is a superfood for the heart.
An excellent meat substitute that is much lower in unhealthy cholesterol and saturated fat. High in fiber and minerals too, beans are a powerful protein option for the heart.
Plump full of potassium, tomatoes can improve your heart health. Red tomatoes exhibit high levels of lycopene which can help lower levels of problematic cholesterol.
Full of folate, eating beets can help reduce artery inflammation to lower your risks for heart disease. Beets have proven to reduce high blood pressure too.
Labeled one of the most heart-healthy juices, consuming pomegranates improves blood flow and artery function. Slowing the heart’s build-up of plaque and bad cholesterol one sip at a time.
Soluble fibers and flavonoids found in citrus help increase healthy cholesterol levels. Citrus also packs a lot of Vitamin C, which helps protect against heart disease.
Super Snacks for Super Heart Health
Start your day with a Strawberry Pineapple Kale Smoothie loaded with berries, greens, and other sweetness too.
Whether you’re preparing for a party of one or a few, this Beet Hummus is definitely a pleaser. Take a dip or smear it on a sandwich.
What happens when pomegranate meets citrus and avocado? A super heart-smart Pomegranate-Grapefruit Avacado Toast snack.
Pack these kid-approved Avocado Blueberry Muffins for your kid’s school snack. They’re nut allergy safe and heart-friendly too!
Invest in your health—It is never too late to start eating a heart-healthy diet. Best of all fruits and veggies that are good for your heart are likely good for the rest of your body too! #HaveAPlant and plant a future of good health.
For more heart-healthy recipes and information, visit fruitsandveggies.org.
What’s your favorite heart healthy fruits and vegetables? Share in the comments below.