FOODS TO MAKE YOUR HEART BEET
Putting the fun in functional, nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik is sharing the love and nutritional knowledge this Valentine’s with her plant-based foods to get your heart in peak health.
We often hear the phrase “eat the rainbow” and there’s plenty of evidence that an increase in plant based foods such as veggies, fruit and nuts is positively linked with myriad health benefits including heart health. Of course, there are non-dietary factors such as regular exercise, ditching fags and stress management but including more plants in your diet is a great place to get your heart ticking along nicely too.
An apple a day!
Well actually research indicates it’s two apples a day that will keep your heart healthy and the doctor away. Have you noticed that an apple resembles the heart in shape and size too? So, it’s no surprise to hear that they have specific benefits where the heart is concerned. They contain two qualities which help to maintain heart healthy cholesterol levels. Quercetin, a type of antioxidant and pectin, a type of fibre that can have positive effects on lowering LDL (the “bad” type of cholesterol). Try stewing apples which makes this fibre easier to uptake, mix them with a touch of cinnamon and flaked almonds for a delicious breakfast, snack or dessert.
Greens are a superb source of Vitamin K that help thin the blood to prevent clotting and maintain better circulation. You can find this in abundance in greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli and cabbage. Leafy greens also contain folate and Vitamin B6 which helps to lower homocysteine (a marker that indicates a higher risk of heart disease). Juicing is a great way to pack these in but do have that with a handful of nuts as Vitamin K is one that needs fat for the body to absorb efficiently. Another way to aid absorption is to simply add oil to your salads and veggies.
Starting your day with a glorious bowl of porridge is the perfect prescription. Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre that help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Top your bowl with some blueberries that are rich in anthocyanin antioxidants (also positively linked to cardiovascular health) and you’ll be giving your heart and taste buds a treat. I love making mine with Plenish’s creamy cashew milk and a drizzle of raw honey. Delish!
Potassium is like kryptonite to the effect of sodium and as such may help to keep blood pressure at a healthy level. Avocados are packed with the stuff. In fact, they are one of the highest dietary sources of potassium you can get! More than that, avocados are also plentiful in monounsaturated fat that can help to manage healthy cholesterol levels and are a rich source of fibre. This double act of fat and fibre helps to lower the levels of LDL, the “bad” type of cholesterol whilst boosting the numbers of the “good” HDL type. Pass the guacamole please!
The deep red hue of beets could be nature’s indicator that they are good for pumping blood around the body but beyond their sweet and sumptuous flavour beets can also have your heart skipping a beet too! That’s down to the dietary nitrates contained in this bold veg that are significantly increased in their juiced version. Research shows that these nitrates, which convert into nitric oxide in the body, may help improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. Beets are also rich in folate and potassium that are both key nutrients for maintaining a healthy ticker. Get your beet fix from Plenish pump juice, plus enjoy the added energy it provides to crush your next gym sesh!
Last but definitely not least – Vino!
Yes, you read that right folks! Moderate drinking, as in a few glasses per week (not bottles), has been positively linked to heart health. So, you can toast this Valentines to your loved one and knowing that a glass of vino warms the heart too!