Heart-smart choices that add up
Healthy eating is all about math: subtracting fat, counting calories, dividing portions. But let's not forget adding. "Adding just one food to another can make a tremendous difference in your total nutrient intake and offer significant health gains," says Tara Gidus, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Here are quick pairings that taste great, take seconds to make, and add up to amazing heart health.
Whole grain cereal (any kind) + sunflower seeds
Sprinkling 3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds into your morning cereal provides more than 100 percent of your day's requirements for alpha-tocopherol, the most active form of vitamin E. As an antioxidant, vitamin E protects cells from damage caused by destructive free radicals that can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Garden salad + canned wild salmon
Adding 3 ounces of canned wild salmon to your salad provides half of the weekly recommendation for healthy omega-3 fats. The fatty acids found in canned salmon are linked with improvements in heart and brain health. Choosing wild lowers your exposure to dioxin, a cancer-causing contaminant found in the feed given to the farm-raised variety.
Seltzer + grape juice
Grape juice contains a phytochemical called resveratrol found in the skin of red and purple grapes. Research links resveratrol to lower blood pressure, reduced LDL cholesterol, and fewer blood clots.
Soup (any kind) + pinto bean
s Adding 1/2 cup of beans to soup lowers both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol -- the unhealthy kind that contributes to the buildup of arterial plaque -- according to researchers at Arizona State University Polytechnic. They found that people who ate 1/2 cup of pinto beans a day lowered both their total and LDL cholesterol by about 8 percent. (Beans are high in fiber, which decreases levels of LDL by reducing its absorption.) One-half cup of black, kidney, or pinto beans supplies about one-third of your day's fiber needs. The heat from soup cooks canned beans through, and they add heft to a lighter broth.
Sometimes it's one simple swap that can yield the biggest benefits.
For more healthy living news and features, visit PureMatters.com -- and don't forget to stop by the Pure Matters Shop for all your vitamin and supplement needs.
Source: Pure Matters http://www.purematters.com/prevention/heart-disease/heart-smart-choices-that-add-up