7 Heart-Healthy Red Foods
Red is the colour most associated with love, passion, intensity and…heart health? There are many red-coloured foods that are good for the body’s most important muscle. Here’s a list of popular red foods to add to your regular diet that will keep your heart healthy and beating strong.
Dark Red Kidney Beans
Kidney beans have hugely beneficial cardiovascular effects. They are an exceptional source of cholesterol-lowering fibre and also contain large amounts of magnesium and folate, all of which contribute to heart health by reducing the chances of heart disease and heart attacks. Use kidney beans in stews, chilis or minestrone soup
Pomegranate has a large number of beneficial antioxidants including polyphenols, anthocyanins and tannins. This “seedy apple” is also wonderfully rich in fibre and a great source of vitamins C and E. Pomegranate juice contains the highest level of antioxidants among most other fruit juices, red wine and tea. Studies have shown that drinking a daily glass of pomegranate juice fights off the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and related diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
Red Delicious Apples
The Red Delicious apple with its crisp, yellow flesh is a natural energy booster that contains vitamin C as well as potassium, a mineral which helps control blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. The apple is also a high source of pectin, which prevents cholesterol build-up and thus reduces the risk of heart disease. This apple variety is available year round, making it the perfect everyday snack food.
Red Bell Peppers
This sweet-tasting bell pepper contains vitamin B6 and folic acid, both of which are important vitamins in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and diabetic heart disease. The red bell pepper is also an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that may be effective in preventing certain cancers. Because it is in good supply all year round, it won’t be hard to add this healthy red vegetable to your daily diet. Chop up red bell peppers and add them to salads, pasta dishes or stir fries. Carve them out and stuff them with rice or just slice them up and eat them raw!
Like most fish, the red snapper is high in protein, low in saturated fat and a great source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Consuming fish rich in Omega-3 fats increases heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of cardiac function. Studies have shown that with greater variability between beats, the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) or sudden death is significantly reduced. Omega-3s also make blood less likely to clot inside arteries (clogged arteries are the ultimate cause of most heart attacks and strokes). The moist flesh of the red snapper has a delicate sweet flavour. Serve it broiled, baked, steamed, fried, grilled or any other way you like.
The strawberry contains more vitamin C than any other berry. In addition to containing potassium, folic acid, iron and fibre, strawberries are also rich in a phytonutrient called phenols. The presence of phenols is what gives this red-coloured berry the reputation of being an anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and heart-protective fruit all rolled into one. Strawberries are great for eating on their own or used in salads, cereals and as a dessert topping.
From cherry to grape, plum to vine, hot house to sundried, there are virtually thousands of varieties of the tomato. Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and beta carotene as well as lycopene, a carotenoid that has been found to protect against a growing list of cancers and also prevent heart disease. Tomatoes can easily be incorporated into your daily diet and into just about any meal. Use them in omelettes, sandwiches, salads, pastas and more. Fresh tomatoes are also excellent for making an authentic, homemade Mexican salsa.
Martha Li for divine.ca
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