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Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Honing A Healthy Heart

When it comes to fruits and veggies there’s no question, they’re good for our hearts! We only have one so let’s treat it well. This February, celebrate National American Heart Month by learning more about heart disease prevention.

In addition to nature’s bounty, there are other factors involved in preventing heart disease. Lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking, exercising regularly and even controlling stress can make a difference in creating a healthy environment for you heart. Managing your weight and controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar should all be part of your plan as well. Lucky for you, fruits and veggies can help!

The American Heart Association® recommends eating eight (8) or more fruit and vegetable servings every day. An average adult consuming 2,000 calories daily should aim for 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Also, variety matters, so try a wide range of fruits and veggies.

3 Ways to Protect Your Heart

Apples. Can apples really keep the doctor away? You bet! According to a recent study, consuming an apple per day for four weeks can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by as much as 40%!* Crunch away!

Potassium. Potassium is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, bananas, oranges and orange juice, prunes, mushroom and tomatoes (just to name a few), and it can help lessen the effect of sodium. Stick to natural food sources and make potassium-rich foods part of your daily plan.

Fiber. Fill up on fiber! High fiber diets have been linked to lower risk of heart disease and can also contribute to managing a healthy weight. Check out this list of high fiber fruits and veggies to start your grocery shopping trip …

    • Cooked black beans – 15g fiber per cup
    • Raspberries – 8g fiber per cup
    • Pear, with skin – 5.5g fiber per medium
    • Apple, with skin – 4.4g fiber per medium
    • Banana – 3g fiber per medium

Recipe

Fresh Mushroom Three Bean Salad
Servings: 12
Prep Time: 10 min.

For health-boosting properties, nothing beats this combo. Try using low-sodium beans and dressing.

Ingredients

    • 10 oz (about 3 cups) fresh white mushrooms, quartered
    • 1 jar (about 7 ounces; about 3/4 cup) roasted red peppers, drained, cut in strips
    • 1 can (15 ounces) white beans (cannellini), 50% less sodium, drained
    • 1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans 50% less sodium, drained
    • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 2 celery ribs, sliced
    • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, coarsely shredded, divided
    • 3 cup Italian salad dressing, no salt added, homemade or prepared
    • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions
In a large bowl combine mushrooms, peppers, the 3 kinds of beans, celery, and ¼ cup of the cheese. Add dressing and parsley; toss to coat well. Stir in parsley. Serve topped with remaining cheese.

Variation: To make this a main dish, add cooked chicken, sliced pepperoni, kielbasa or ham.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 426; Total Fat 20g; Saturated Fat 4g; Polyunsaturated Fat 8g; Monounsaturated Fat 4g; Cholesterol 47mg; Sodium 163mg; Potassium 1069mg; Total Carbohydrate 46g; Dietary Fiber 12g; Protein 19g

Recipe Source: Mushroom Council

 

*Reference: ResearchNews.osu.edu | View Article

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