How to Choose Heart Healthy Winter Foods
How to Choose Heart Healthy Winter Foods
The winter months are often associated with large family meals and heavy comfort foods. As a result, many people throw their regular dietary regimes out the window and begin indulging in unhealthy foods. This does not have to be the case. In fact, there are a number of heart healthy foods that are available year round. In order to choose heart healthy foods in the winter, you should select seasonal produce, eat a well-balanced diet, and you can even create healthy comfort meals.
Selecting Seasonal Produce
Purchase kale.Kale is a strong leafy green vegetable that can continue to thrive in cold weather. This vegetable is also excellent for heart health. It contains antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
Try eating root vegetables.Many root vegetables, such as carrots, beets, and turnips can continue to grow and survive in the harsh winter climate. These vegetables also contain many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and vitamin A as well as beta-carotene, which is great for your heart.
Incorporate more citrus in your diet.Citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits are great for your heart. They contain vitamin C as well as flavonoids, which boost high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and lower low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol. This can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Eat pomegranate.Pomegranate is a tasty fruit that contains antioxidants that will help to keep your heart healthy throughout the winter months. You can enjoy the health benefits of pomegranate by drinking pomegranate juice or eating the seeds contained within the fruit.
- Pomegranates are in season from September to January.
- The juice also contains potassium and vitamin C.
Consider frozen fruits and vegetables.Frozen fruits and vegetables can actually contain more nutrients than fresh produce. You will also be able to continue to enjoy your favourite heart-healthy fruits and veggies throughout the winter. For example, purchase frozen mixed berries to use in smoothies or add to your morning yogurt.
- You can purchase frozen corn, carrots, peas, mixed vegetables, strawberries, mangos, blueberries, mixed berries, etc.
Making Healthy Comfort Meals
Eat oatmeal for breakfast.Oatmeal is not only a quick and easy breakfast option, it is also extremely healthy for your heart. For example, oatmeal contains zinc, which can help with immune functioning during the winter. Oatmeal also includes soluble fiber that contributes to heart health.
- Old fashioned oats are the cheapest and healthiest option.
Cook a homemade soup.Soups made with vegetable or chicken stock and packed with a variety of vegetables, lentils, and beans are an excellent way to stay warm and healthy during the winter. Try making a soup that contains heart healthy vegetables and proteins, such as winter squash, carrots, beets, or black beans.
- Avoid purchasing canned soups. These often contain excessive amounts of sodium.
Make a warm pot of vegetarian chili.Vegetarian chili is an excellent way to stay warm and healthy during the winter. This is a staple comfort food dish and contains many ingredients that will help keep your heart healthy. For example, chili contains kidney beans, chili peppers, garlic, and onion. All of these ingredients are linked to heart health.
- You can also prepare chili with a lean meat choice, such as lean ground beef, ground turkey, or even grass fed bison.
Try sushi rolls.During the winter months you will get less exposure to the sun. As a result, you need to increase the amount of vitamin D in your diet. Try eating salmon or tuna sushi rolls. These are packed with vitamin D and make a great alternative to traditional comfort foods.
- You can enjoy sushi from a Japanese restaurant or you can try making your own rolls!
Enjoy chocolate for dessert.Many people like to curl up with the comfort of chocolate during the winter. Although most processed milk chocolate contains a lot of added sugars, dark chocolate and unprocessed cocoa powder actually contain heart healthy nutrients, such as flavonoids and antioxidants.
Eating a Well-Balanced Winter Diet
Try a variety of nuts.Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds are an excellent source of protein and can actually help to lower cholesterol. Nuts have a number of nutritional benefits and contain unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and vitamin E. They can be purchased year round and are typically harvested in the fall and early winter months.
- You can eat nuts on their own as a healthy afternoon snack, or add them to your salads, granola, or yogurt.
Eat salmon.Wild salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can help decrease your likelihood of developing heart disease. Salmon also contains high levels of selenium, an antioxidant that can boost heart health. Most major grocery stores will contain a fresh seafood section year round and you should be able to purchase salmon during the winter months.
Enjoy yogurt.Try adding a plain yogurt to your regular diet. Yogurts are an excellent source of calcium and it can actually help to decrease high blood pressure.Yogurt is a delicious, fast, and easy breakfast staple. You can eat it on its own or mix yogurt with your favorite frozen fruits and granola.
Avoid refined sugars.During the colder months, many people will gravitate towards sweets and other comfort foods. Although these snacks are delicious, they can have harmful consequences on your health. Refined sugar can actually lower the functioning of your immune system.
- Avoid eating pre-packaged sweets and candies and instead, opt for natural sugars that are found in syrup, fruits, and honey.
QuestionWhich fruits and vegetables are good for the heart?
Registered DietitianRegistered DietitianExpert AnswerWinter vegetables such as kale, carrots, beets, and turnips are good for your heart because of the fiber content.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I eat if I have heart disease?
Registered DietitianRegistered DietitianExpert AnswerTry to make at least 1/2 of your plate vegetables at each meal. Include a variety of colors and textures to make the most of your choices.Thanks!
QuestionWhat foods are good for your heart and brain?
Registered DietitianRegistered DietitianExpert AnswerNuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts) and salmon are known for being good for your heart and brain.Thanks!
QuestionAre almonds good for heart patients?
Registered DietitianRegistered DietitianExpert AnswerYes, almonds are a good snack choice in moderation. Avoid large portions because they are high in calories which can lead to weight gain.Thanks!
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