Celebrating American Heart Month with Healthy Recipes

 

Copy of Heart healthy monthAs we enter the month of February, decorative hearts and cupids occupy neighborhood storefronts. Decadent boxes of chocolates and candies inscribed with “LUV” and “Be Mine” tantalize in the aisles of the grocery store. But before you reach for a few truffles, read this cardiovascular wellness post during American Heart Month.

According to the CDC,  about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Though genetics can play a role, there are several ways that you can thwart your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. One way is through diet. A variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans and nuts is essential to maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle. Within a heart healthy diet, The American Heart Association recommends including dark leafy greens daily. Kale, collard greens and varieties like our own Watercress and Baby Romaine are packed with nutrients and minerals. “[Green veggies] are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and free your body of potentially harmful compounds. They’re also high in fiber and contain tons of vitamins and minerals,” says health.com.

Need a few weeknight #hearthealthy dinner ideas? We’ve got you covered!

Food52’s Sardine, Avocado and Radish Salad with Upland Cress – This recipe is covered head-to-toe in hearty nutritional goodness. Sardines are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which, research has shown, can decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats). Rich in the monounsaturated fats, avocadoes may lower heart disease risk factors. To round out the dish, cruciferous veggies upland cress and radishes pack a punch with cancer-fighting properties.

Whole Food’s Watercress Salad with Pears and Pomegranates – “Pomegranates contains numerous antioxidants, including heart-promoting polyphenols and anthocyanins which may help stave off hardening of the arteries,” reports health.com. Additionally, the luminous fruit and peppery watercress both possess an ample amount of vitamin c.

Brown Sugar’s Romaine Lettuce Chicken Salad Wraps – Romaine lettuce is a versatile green. With more more vitamin A than a carrot, the hearty lettuce makes an excellent stand in for a wrap or sandwich bread in this recipe. In this rendition of chicken salad, Brown Sugar includes walnuts. In a 2011 study, findings suggested that walnuts may be the top nut for heart health. What are you waiting for? Get crackin’!

For more heart healthy recipe ideas, check out our latest Pinterest board.

Eat Healthy in 2017 with Tips from Pete’s Living Greens

 

Veggies and fruits arranged in lettuce cups, on platters and as a smoothieAfter a busy holiday season, many of our waistbands and wallets could use a break. Why don’t you and your family see this January as a renewal period for healthy eating? We know that it can be challenging to form new habits. But Forbes reports that repetition is intrinsic to habit formation, and it helps to have a partner in the process.

To get started on the road to nutrition, grab your family and check out these 2017 healthy eating tips from some of our expert friends. And for vitamin-rich recipe ideas, don’t forget to peruse our blog archives.

  1. Nutritionist Barbara Ruhs MS, RDN suggests at lunch and dinner to use the “half of your plate” rule; filling your plate with fruits and vegetables to maintain a nutritious balance. 
  2. Jessica Beacom, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Co-Founder of Simply Nourished says, “Take time each week to wash, chop and package vegetables, fruits and salads in containers that can be easily tossed into purses, backpacks or coolers. This makes on-the-go healthy snacking much easier. It can save you from meltdowns, and decreases the temptation to turn to fast food meals or less healthy pre-packaged snacks.”
  3. Michelle Stern, founder of What’s Cooking with Kids and author of The Whole Family Cookbook, says, “Kids [and even grown-ups!] can get tired of sandwiches so it’s fun to mix things up a bit. Try using tortilla rollups filled with cream cheese and jam, or hummus and cucumbers! Or mini frittatas made in muffin tins pack a huge protein punch and can be easily customized to suit each person’s tastes.”
  4. Beacom says, “Gradually removing the processed and packaged foods from the home (and not bringing them back in with the next shopping trip) decreases the number of choices available for snacking so that healthier foods can take the main stage.”
  5. Eat a salad or green a day. According to Elaine Magee, MPH, RD via webmd, eating salads is a satisfying low calorie meal, they contain lots of fiber and you’ll likely have higher blood levels of a host of powerful antioxidants. Need more reasons? Check out 8 reasons to eat our Living Greens.

 

Running into Fall: Eat Leafy Greens to Give Your Athletic Performance a Boost

 

A woman runs as the sun sets. Two images for leafy green salads accompany the runner photo.Marathon running may not be synonymous with fall pastimes like sipping pumpkin lattes or heading to the cider mill. Yet, thousands of diligent individuals are preparing for half and full marathons around the world this season. These athletes have to properly cross-train, fit in ample training time and stretch to successfully complete their goals. They also have to be mindful of what they eat. In fact, intense bouts of physical activity like marathon running deplete one’s antioxidant levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, plant-based foods, like Pete’s Living Upland Cress and Organic Watercress, are the best sources of antioxidants.

 Why are these substances important?

“Powerful antioxidants found in dark leafy greens, including lettuce, can benefit athletes by reducing damage to cells during exercise and in recovery,” says Barbara Ruhs, Arizona-based Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert. “In addition, leafy greens are a source of hydration and a variety of vitamins (vitamin C), minerals (potassium, magnesium) and nutrients (fiber) that may enhance athletic performance.”

When our bodies undergo physical exertion, we produce free radicals, and there is evidence linking free radical production to the process of aging and DNA and cell damage. Ruhs mentions a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition that found that subjects who consumed watercress daily before working out, experienced less DNA damage than their non-consuming watercress counterparts.

You don’t have to be a marathon runner to reap the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise regime.  The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week.  Our Pete’s Living Greens products are an excellent addition to a well-balanced diet for active individuals of all levels. Peruse our blog and Facebook page, for a variety of nutritional yet tasty recipes.

You can find Barbara Ruhs on Twitter at @BarbRuhsRD, Facebook, Pinterest and on http://www.neighborhoodnutrition.com/