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Go Red for Women — and Your Heart

Published in Heart & Vascular, For the Health of It, Salads & Vegetables, Healthy Eating Tips Author: Danielle Armbrust,RDN,LD

Every February we celebrate American Heart Month and Go Red for Women Day. This year, I would encourage everyone not to just wear red, but to also think of ways to eat more red colored foods!

Did you know that there are many different red fruits and vegetables that are heart healthy? Some of them even have a similar shape to the heart. Think strawberries, beets, red bell peppers, tomatoes and pomegranates.

These foods, along with many others, contain a high level of antioxidants that help improve our heart health. Fruits and vegetables also are a great source of fiber, which can be helpful in lowering your cholesterol. Here are some ways to enjoy these foods.

  • Strawberries: While a bowl full of strawberries might be enjoyable enough, try adding them to some of your favorite meals. Use them to sweeten your favorite low sugar cereal or oatmeal. Strawberries are also a great addition to a spinach salad along with heart healthy walnuts and a low sodium balsamic vinegar dressing.
  • Beets: Try them roasted for a slightly sweet and earthy flavor. They also can be added to your favorite smoothie to brighten it up.
  • Red Bell Peppers: Snacking on red bell peppers along with hummus can be a refreshing snack. They also can be a nice slightly crunchy addition to a soup or chili recipe.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes can be incorporated in a variety of ways. Add fresh tomatoes to your salad or sandwich. Make homemade fresh salsa for a low sodium snack or incorporate into soups and chili.
  • Pomegranate Seeds: Packed with antioxidants and fiber, pomegranate seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. Currently in season, pomegranate seeds can sweeten up a fruit salad or yogurt. They also can be used to make a chutney or sauce.

Check out this Heart Healthy Vegetarian Chili recipe (PDF) that incorporates both tomatoes and red bell peppers. It's a great recipe to help you eat healthy and warm yourself inside during these “chilly” February days.