I am a sucker for lists. Read them all the time.
This one comes from WebMD — a list a 25 heart-healthy foods. Surprise: Many of these foods are mainstays of the Mediterranean diet, the focus of yesterday’s post. What I love about this list is that it identifies the food, explains why it's good for you, and suggests ways to incorporate it into your diet.
Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, a dietitian with the Preventive Cardiology Center at The Cleveland Clinic, is quoted in the WebMD article, and her words are powerful: “You can definitely reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by eating these foods every day."
She went on to say that the produce on the list form the base of a heart-healthy diet, protecting blood vessels by wiping out the free radicals in our bloodstream.
It’s all about shopping the perimeter of the supermarket — stocking up on fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry while avoiding the aisles, which we all know are overflowing with processed products and sugar in all forms.
This list was developed by WebMD, with help from The Cleveland Clinic and the American Dietetic Association. You can check it out at www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/25-top-heart-healthy-foods?page=2.
- Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids. Grill salmon with a yummy rub or marinade. Save a chunk to chop for a pasta or salad later on.
- Flaxseed (ground): Omega-3 fatty acids; fiber, phytoestrogens. Ground flaxseed hides easily in all sorts of foods — yogurt parfaits, morning cereal, homemade muffins, or cookies.
- Oatmeal: Omega-3 fatty acids; magnesium; potassium; folate; niacin; calcium; soluble fiber. Top hot oatmeal with fresh berries. Oatmeal-and-raisin cookies are a hearty treat.
- Black or Kidney Beans: B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate; magnesium; omega-3 fatty acids; calcium; soluble fiber. Give soup or salad a nutrient boost -- stir in some beans.
- Almonds: Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols. Mix a few almonds (and berries) into low-fat yogurt, trail mix, or fruit salads.
- Walnuts: Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; folate; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols. Walnuts add flavorful crunch to salads, pastas, cookies, muffins, even pancakes.
- Red wine: Catechins and reservatrol (flavonoids). Toast your good health! A glass of red wine could improve "good" HDL cholesterol.
- Tuna: Omega-3 fatty acids; folate; niacin. Here's lunch: Salad greens, fresh fruit, canned tuna. Keep "Salad Spritzer" - a light dressing -- in your office fridge.
- Tofu: Niacin; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium. Tasty tofu is easy: Thinly slice "firm" tofu, marinate several hours, grill or stir-fry.
- Brown rice: Microwavable brown rice makes a quick lunch. Stir in a few chopped veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach).
- Soy milk: Isoflavones (a flavonoid); B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate, calcium; magnesium; potassium; phytoestrogens. Soy milk is great over oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. Or, make a smoothie with soy milk.
- Blueberries: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); anthocyanin (a flavonoid); ellagic acid (a polyphenol); vitamin C; folate; calcium, magnesium; potassium; fiber. Cranberries, strawberries, raspberries are potent, too -- for trail mixes, muffins, salads!
- Carrots: Alpha-carotene (a carotenoid); fiber. Baby carrots are sweet for lunch. Sneak shredded carrots into spaghetti sauce or muffin batter.
- Spinach: Lutein (a carotenoid); B-complex vitamins; folate; magnesium; potassium; calcium; fiber. Pick spinach (not lettuce) for nutrient-packed salads and sandwiches.
- Broccoli: Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); Vitamins C and E; potassium; folate; calcium; fiber. Chop fresh broccoli into store-bought soup. For a veggie dip, try hummus (chickpeas).
- Sweet potato: Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); vitamins A, C, E; fiber. Microwave in a zip-lock baggie for lunch. Eat au naturale, or with pineapple bits.
- Red bell peppers: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber. Rub with olive oil, and grill or oven-roast until tender. Delicious in wraps, salads, sandwiches.
- Asparagus: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; fiber. Grill or steam slightly, then dress with olive oil and lemon. It's a pretty side dish.
- Oranges: Beta-cryptoxanthin, beta- and alpha-carotene, lutein (carotenoids) and flavones (flavonoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber. Got orange juice? Check out the new nutrient-packed blends.
- Tomatoes: Beta- and alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein (carotenoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber. For a flavor twist, try oil-packed tomatoes in sandwiches, salads, pastas, pizzas.
- Acorn squash: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium; fiber. Baked squash is comfort food on a chilly day. Serve with sauteed spinach, pine nuts, raisins.
- Cantaloupe: Alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber. A fragrant ripe cantaloupe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, potluck dinners. Simply cut and enjoy!
- Papaya: Beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein (carotenoids); Vitamins C and E; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium. Serve papaya salsa with salmon: Mix papaya, pineapple, scallions, garlic, fresh lime juice, salt and black pepper.
- Dark chocolate: Reservatrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids). A truffle a day lowers blood pressure, but choose 70% or higher cocoa content.
- Tea: Catechins and flavonols (flavonoids). Make sun tea: Combine a clear glass jar, several tea bags, and hours of sunshine.