A Look Back at 2013

We covered a number of topics this past year, from hangover remedies, hydration, gluten, and positive body image. 2013 was a great year and we can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for EALM and our readers. To take a trip down memory lane, we compiled a Table Of Contents of our 2013 blog posts. We hope you enjoy this blast from the past and we wish you all a healthy and happy 2014!

Screen shot 2013-09-25 at 4.33.12 PMJANUARY

Hangover Remedies

The Pros and Cons of Being a Vegetarian Fitness Enthusiast

6 Nutrition Trends of 2013

What a Difference a Title Makes: Nutritionist vs. Dietitian

4 Smart Superbowl Swaps

Photo Credit: prideandvegudice via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: prideandvegudice via Compfight cc

FEBRUARY

The Feast on Fat Tuesday for those Who Don’t Cook

Boosting Positive Body Image

Love Your Heart with 8 Heart-Healthy Foods

Power Up with Phytochemicals!

MARCH

My Exercise Allergy

Protein, Fiber, and a Booty Barre Class? Sign Me Up!

All About Gluten: Your Questions Answered

Calcium and Vitamin D

Photo Credit: Alex E. Proimos via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Alex E. Proimos via Compfight cc

APRIL

Spring Training…Let’s Head to the Races!

Genetically Modified Foods

Healthy in the Mind and the Body

Super Foods Super Expensive

Olive Oil, Extra Virgin, or Cold-Pressed…What’s the Difference?

Photo Credit: mischiru via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: mischiru via Compfight cc

MAY

How to Eat Your Water and Stay Hydrated

To Prevent Kidney Stones

Is Your Favorite Organic Restaurant Actually Organic?

JUNE

How To Choose Safer, Sustainable Seafood

Fun and Easy Outdoor Activities for Father’s Day

Sprouted Grain Bread vs Whole Wheat Bread

3 New Moves

Photo Credit: Admanchester via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Admanchester via Compfight cc

JULY

Wheatgrass

Vitamins: The Basics

Fish Oil Linked to Prostate Cancer?

A Day at the Beach: So What’s for Lunch?

Join the Challenge on Food Waste

AUGUST

Nuts

Breakfast, the Most Important Meal of the Day

Is Greek Frozen Yogurt Everyone’s Answer to Dessert?

10 Foods to Help You Fuel Your Day

SEPTEMBER

Workout from Within

New FDA Ruling Making Waves in Gluten-Free Community

How to Feed a Fast!

National Celiac Awareness Day

Contrary to Popular Belief – Men, Also Suffer From Eating Disorders

OCTOBER

What’s the Story with GMOs?

“Shattered Image”: An Interview with Brian Cuban

The Latest Diet Recommendations for Breast Cancer

Healthy Snack Options for Diabetics

Prostate Cancer: News and Recommendations

Canola Oil: Is It Healthy?

NOVEMBER

Should Your Oil be Cold-Pressed?

What Exactly is Diabulimia?

5 Simple Tips for a Simply Healthier You This Holiday Season

The Art of the Bliss Point

DECEMBER

Out with ORAC

Eating in “Peace”

Eating Healthfully When Gluten-Free

Happy and Healthy Diabetes-Friendly Holiday Meals with Dessert!

Nutrition Trends: 2014 Edition

Should Your Oil be Cold-Pressed?

Should Your Oil be Cold-Pressed?
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

If you read our previous post on canola oil, you most likely know that picking an oil for your family meals isn’t the easiest task. There are many factors when choosing an oil: the heat index, the content of unsaturated vs. saturated fat, and even the question of genetic engineering. Not to mention the fact that there are over a dozen of choices in most grocery stores!

Let’s start with smoke points. Every oil has a smoke point, or temperature, where the oil begins to break down. When the oil breaks down, it can lose some of its benefits and gain an unpleasant odor. The trick is to avoid allowing the oil to smoke and if it does, you want to restart your dish with a new serving of oil.

Phú Thịnh Co via Compfight cc
Phú Thịnh Co via Compfight cc

In our blog on canola oil, we mentioned fats quite a bit: saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. All oils have some combination of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats, MUFAs are recognized as the heart healthy oil based on research. We’ve outlined oils that are highest in these particular types of fats:

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*For a more detailed chart on fat content in oil click here1.

Oil Processing

When walking down the aisles at the grocery store, not only do you have to pick from a number of different oil options, but you also have to consider the processing that oils undergo.

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 12.00.37 PM  For a quick guide on the best ways to use cooking oils, see Cleveland Clinic’s Top Heart-Healthy Oils Guide – it’s a great go-to resource to have in your kitchen.

References:

 1. Duyff, Roberta Larson. The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food & Nutrition Guide. New York: J. Wiley, 1998. Print.

Canola Oil: Is It Healthy?

Canola Oil: Is It Healthy?
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

What is Canola Oil?

Canola oil is the oil extracted from canola seeds, the genetic variant of the rapeseed plant. Canola oil has the lowest amount of saturated fat among cooking oils in the US and is high in unsaturated fats, especially the beneficial monounsaturated fats. Canola oil has high amounts of both omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 1.27.22 PM

Canola oil has a smoke point of 396-414˚F, making it ideal for sautéing, grilling, and frying. Canola oil doesn’t alter the taste of a dish, which explains its popularity in baking dishes and vinaigrettes. Canola oil is also relatively easy to store: it is best to keep in a cool dark place, ideally a cabinet or pantry, and can last up to one year. A great tip is to smell the oil if you’re unsure of its expiration date. If the oil has an unpleasant or rancid smell, it has most likely spoiled, and may be best to buy a new one.

Is Canola Oil Healthy?

Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to play a very important role in protecting the heart, improving blood pressure, reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol.

Diets high in canola oil, over other oils higher in saturated fat, were found to reduce total cholesterol levels by an average of 12.2%1. A similar study, comparing dietary canola oil with higher saturated fat-containing dairy products, found that substituting canola oil for dairy fat decreased participants’ total cholesterol levels.

Canola oil was also found to be effective in decreasing the growth of cancer cells and increasing the rate of the death of cancer cells1. Canola oil has been linked to aiding in the prevention of breast cancer. A population-based study found that women who regularly cooked with olive or canola oil had a significantly lower chance of developing breast cancer when compared to women who regularly cooked with hydrogenated, vegetable and corn oils2.

Despite its health benefits, canola oil has sparked some controversy as it is said to be one of the most genetically engineered foods sold in America. According to Spectrum Organics, a company that sells non-GMO canola oil, canola oil was originally made by hybridization. A process dating back to the 1920s, hybridization is the natural breeding of plants to yield the strongest and most bountiful crops. Like many modern day crops, however, canola oil is now one of the many that are genetically engineered. It is estimated that 93% of the canola oil currently sold in the US has been genetically engineered3.

While walking past one of our favorite places to eat in NYC, Hu Kitchen, we noticed they advertise that they don’t use canola oil. Whether genetically-modified canola oil or genetically engineered food is safe is still up for debate. For more information you can see our previous blog. It doesn’t mean you need to avoid canola oil altogether, rather, an easy solution to avoid genetically engineered canola oil, is buying an organic or non-GMO certified brand. In Laura’s kitchen you can find the following brands:

Do you use canola oil in your home? If not which oil/s do you use instead?
 

Interested in learning more about oils? Check out Laura’s blog What’s GMO and What’s Not GMO on the Bitsy’s Brainfood Blog. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post on the difference between cold-pressed oils and traditional oils. 

 

References:
1. Cho, Kyongshin, Lawrence Mabasa, Andrea W. Fowler, Dana M. Walsh, and Chung S. Park. “Canola Oil Inhibits Breast Cancer Cell Growth in Cultures and In Vivo and Acts Synergistically with Chemotherapeutic Drugs.” Lipids 45.9 (2010): 777-84.
2. Wang, Jun, Esther John, Pamela Horn-Ross, and Sue Ann Ingles. “Dietary Fat, Cooking Fat, and Breast Cancer Risk in a Multiethnic Population.” Nutrition and Cancer 60.4 (2008): 492-504.
3. Brumfiel, Geoffrey. “Genetically Modified Canola ‘Escapes’ Farm Fields.” NPR. NPR, 06 Aug. 2010. Web. 26 Oct. 2013.

Join the Challenge on Food Waste

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 3.43.39 PMHave you ever looked into your refrigerator and noticed the dried out carrot sitting in the back of the fridge, or the wilted lettuce you forgot you bought 2 weeks ago (let’s face it, we’ve all been there at least once!) At some point or another, we had the intention to eat it but whether we didn’t know what to make with it or simply forgot, the end result is often the same: the waste bin.

Even as a fairly seasoned cook in the kitchen, I must admit that I often have difficulty deciding what to make with the kale I bought last week or how to reinvent leftover, steamed rice. And if you are fairly new to cooking, it can be especially difficult knowing which cuts of meats can be reused or which veggies can be stored for another meal. But when there’s no way to salvage the spoiled produce or forgotten leftovers, the reluctant answer is to toss it. While any food you toss away may seem like a small quantity, individual food waste adds up and contributes to a much larger issue at hand, and that includes damage to the environment and loss of resources.
Food waste occurs when food makes it to the end of the supply chain, i.e. the consumer, but doesn’t actually get consumed. It is a major issue in the United States. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture reports that in 2010, combined sources of food waste in the U.S., including from stores, restaurants, and homes contributed to an estimated 133 billion pounds of uneaten food–that’s a value of approximately $161 billion dollars.
In America, nearly 40 million tons of food waste is sent to landfills every year. Food waste in landfills produces methane gas, which is more harmful to the environment than CO2 gas. Moreover, the amount of resources it takes to produce the food (whether it be vegetables, fruit, or meat) takes up a ton of energy. There are many ways in which we can eliminate the waste in landfills. From the farmer to the food companies, grocery store, restaurant, and consumer, there are many opportunities to join the challenge on food waste.
Join the Challenge on Food Waste
Think about how easy it can be to reduce food waste in your daily life. If we work together, all of our actions (yes, even the small changes we make) can impact the environment on a larger scale. So what are you waiting for? Join the U.S. Food Waste Challenge now and to start you off, here are some activities you can undertake to practice reducing food waste.
Shop Your Kitchen First – Before heading out to the market and purchasing more food, check out your fridge, freezer and pantries to see what you can make with the ingredients you already have.
Plan Your Meals – Step into the grocery store with a list in hand. This will not only cut down the amount of time you spend in the store, but it will also reduce the chances of impulse buys or foods you won’t actually consume.
Shop Smart – Buy only the amount that you need. If you’re making soup for 2 tonight, do you need 1-2 carrots or an entire bag? If you buy the whole bag, will you actually eat them all? For grains, try out the bulk section where you can measure out exactly how much rice or quinoa you’ll need that week. If you’re trying out new grains, seeds or dried fruit, the bulk section may be the way to go. this is also a good way to measure out a small portion in case you may or may not like the new grain or seed. Since perishables go bad rather quickly, resist buying more especially if you haven’t already used up the ones in your fridge.
First In First Out – The concept of FIFO is exactly as it states– first in first out! When unpacking groceries, organize them so that foods with the earliest expiration date are moved to the front. Foods with a later expiration date, or are least likely to go bad first, should be moved to the back of the refrigerator or pantry. This practice will increase your chances of using the foods before they go bad.
Tune Into Your Body – Tune into your body’s hunger and fullness cues so that you can determine how much you want or are able to eat during meal/snack times. Remember, if you’re full and have leftovers, you can always save them.
Donate Excess – Have any wholesome, packaged goods that you haven’t or won’t be eating? Donate them to food banks, soup kitchens, or look into donating to other awesome organizations like God’s Love We Deliver. Not only will you be reducing food waste, but you’ll be doing social good by helping others in need. Just be sure to check the expiration date before donating, as many places have stringent inspections on the donated goods they receive.

To learn more about food waste in the United States, tune into registered dietitian Laura Cipullo on Why Do We Waste Food?

 

Are there other activities you practice to help reduce food waste? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Super Foods Super Expensive

Are “Super foods” worth the money? This answer depends on which food one is referring to. The Willis Report recently asked me if consumers who are being bombarded with trendy super foods like quinoa, goji berries, acai berries, and spirulina getting the most for their money? Well these foods are indeed packed with nutrition especially vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals but they are not necessarily better than other more main stream supper foods like blueberries or salmon. See our post “Are Super Foods So Super?
”

While “super foods” like raw pumpkin super chips or oats with goigi berries are extremely nutritious, they don’t always live up to their cost. They could possibly be even less super than a local or frozen food as they may be less fresh if they are exotic, processed, or have added ingredients. Keep in mind there is no formal qualification defining super foods. Rather this term is used loosely implying this specific food has as much or a greater amount of nutrition than another food.  

When comparing prices of foods marketed as ‘super foods’ and sold in specialty health boutiques, I found that pumpkin chips were five times the costs of just purchasing pure pumpkin seeds and flax seeds. Oat based cereal sold, as a super food was twice as expensive as purchasing stone ground oats with fresh blueberries and a chocolate bar from Africa that was only 44% cocoa was sixty-six percent more expensive then a USA dark chocolate bar like Sweet Riot with 70% coca.

The message here is when opting for value, go with the foods that are most wholesome and unaltered like nuts, wild salmon and organic blueberries. See here for more natural super foods:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/10-everyday-super-foods?page=2.

To find foods that have positive affects on your health without paying top price go with non-packaged fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts. Stroll the bulk section of your health food store and buy foods sold by the pound rather than by the package.

  • “If it is in a package, it is probably processed!
  • If it is has been processed, it’s probably not super.
  • If it is has sugar as the first ingredient, and
  • If it is marketed as super it’s probably not so super.
  • Real whole foods are the super foods that are a super deal.”

Keep in mind, if you are buying juices or super chips with agave, these products have added sugar since agave is sugar. Local fresh and or frozen are usually the best foods to buy for greater nutrition, sustainable efforts and economical value.

 

Spring Training… Let’s head to the races!

By Guest Blogger, Anita Mirchandani, M.S, R.D, C.D.N

By now, you’ve probably been exposed to the plentiful mud race or sporting race phenomenon. It seems like wherever you turn, someone is crawling in mud, jumping hurdles, diving in ice or lifting buckets of sand. Don’t you want in on the fun?

The best way to wrap your head around these races is to eliminate fear. How do you say goodbye to the worries of getting dirty, suffering a bruise from running into a hurdle or finding sand in your pants? …. The answer is to train for it! Strong is the new skinny. Strength is irreplaceable. The ability to push yourself to limits you never thought of before has profound effects on your confidence, emotional stability, and physical stamina.

Here are my training tips:

1. Find a race that is manageable based on your strengths. For example, are you a runner? Do you like to do short intervals of exercises? Based on this, you could pick a race that is longer in length (~10 miles) vs shorter (~5 miles).

2. Focus on weekly training routines and map them out. Put them on your calendar as though they are a commitment and stick to them. You may be required to run 3 miles twice weekly or focus on strength elements for 30 minutes once weekly. Whatever it is, plan it and do it.

3. Figure out your nutrition. What goes in does matter! Plan ahead. Buy healthy snacks such as protein options including greek yogurt, unsalted nuts, nut butter with celery, or even string cheese.

4. Find a friend who can challenge you and motivate you. Buddy system works! If you know someone is waiting for you at 9am to run hill springs, trust me you will go. No one likes an angry friend.

5. Consider races that benefit a greater cause—especially one that is close to you. Have a sense of connection towards a charitable cause has an effect on one’s commitment!

6. Consider a training program. If you’re in NYC, a good one I suggest is As One. They focus on movement, agility and strength training in order to prep you for obstacle courses and endurance. If you are interested in training with them, sign-up at Fitmapped.com or download our mobile app and use promotion code ‘ASONE’. You will receive a discount code of 10% off a package via email when you sign-up.

Good luck!!

 

Bio: Anita Mirchandani, M.S, R.D, C.D.N received a B.A. from NYU and a M.S. in Clinical Nutrition from NYU. After finishing her studies and completing a dietetic internship at New York-Presbyterian hospital in 2011, Anita is now a practicing Registered Dietitian. Recently, Anita co-founded FitMapped, a GPS for fitness concept to help users find fitness easily. When she isn’t evaluating pitfalls of the latest diet fad, she is putting together the ultimate workout playlist.

 

 

Enter to Win KIND Bars

A few weeks ago, we shared with you some of our favorite energy bars for hiking and on-the-go. KIND bars are generally made with about 10 rather simple ingredients, many which include nuts, honey, puffed rice and dried fruits. The use of whole, not ground nuts, contribute to the texture and “homemade” feel. They recently released a new line of flavors, Nuts & Spices, which contain spices like cinnamon, ginger and vanilla. Made with ingredients you can pronounce, they make a pretty good option before a run, or as a midday snack. Whether you’re already a KIND bar fan or have yet to try one, here’s your chance to enter our KIND bar giveaway! 

DARK CHOCOLATE CINNAMON PECAN

Ingredients : Mixed nuts (peanuts, almonds, pecans, cashews), chicory root fiber, honey, palm kernel oil, sugar, non GMO glucose, crisp rice, cocoa powder, cinnamon, soy lecithin, milk powder, salt, vanilla extract.

 CASHEW & GINGER SPICE

Ingredients : Cashews, almonds, peanuts, chicory root fiber, honey, non GMO glucose, crisp rice, ginger, sugar, spices, soy lecithin.

 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

One lucky winner will receive a Kind Nuts & Spices Mixed Case!

Enter by one of the following ways. You can submit more than one entry by doing any of the following. Just be sure to leave an additional comment letting us know you did! Good luck!

  • Leave a comment here and  “Like us” on our Facebook page
  • Follow @MomDishesItOut and tweet @MomDishesItOut is having a @KINDSnacks #Giveaway.
    We’d love to hear what you like about KIND bars! Giveaway ends on Friday, April 5th at 12:00 PM EST.  

Calcium and Vitamin D

 

You’ve probably heard it time and time again, “Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth!” —and it’s true! But what is calcium and why is it so important?

In addition to macronutrients like carbohydrates, fats and protein, the body needs several minerals. Calcium is an essential mineral that supports bone development and maintenance, blood clotting, and muscle contractions. It’s important to know that while you may be consuming foods high in calcium, this mineral requires a source of vitamin D to help the body absorb it. There is a limit to the amount of calcium we can store in our bones but building proper stores of this mineral can prevent osteoporosis later. We can only store calcium up to a certain age, therefore consuming enough calcium and vitamin D earlier on in life is crucial. Although you store calcium in your bones, peak bone density is reached between ages 18-30 and remains stable until 40-50 years old in women and 60 years old in men. As an essential mineral, it is highly regulated. This means that if you don’t consume enough of this nutrient and your body is in need of calcium, calcium can leach from your bone stores so that the body can use it (remember, calcium is involved with muscle contractions and your heart is one of the major muscles that need calcium to contract and function properly!) However, when calcium leaches from the bones, it weakens them and can lead to osteoporosis.  The goal is to consume adequate calcium and vitamin D to build bone mass so that even if you can no longer build bone mass, you can decrease further bone loss and maintain the stores you’ve built. 

As you can see, calcium is not only vital for bone health but it also helps our heart, and muscles function properly.  Inadequate calcium intake cannot only lead to osteoporosis but also an increased risk of bone fractures later in life.  It is recommended that women and men between the ages of 19-70 get between 1000-1200 mg per day of calcium.  While that may seem like a lot, it is easier than it looks! Weight bearing exercise can also help build bone mass.

While 3-4 servings of milk or yogurt a day will help you reach that goal, for those of us who are either lactose intolerant or follow a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle; that might not be an option, so here are a few great dairy-free alternatives.

  • ½ cup of tofu has 261mg of calcium
  • 6oz of fortified with calcium orange juice has 200-260mg
  • 1 cup of soymilk or rice milk have between 100-500 mg of calcium
  • 1 Tablespoon of Sesame Seeds contain 88mg of Calcium
  • ½ cup of almonds contain 175mg of calcium
  • 1 cup of raw leafy greens such as turnip, collards and kale provide 103mg calcium
  • 1 cup of cooked spinach contains 123mg of calcium
  • Dried herbs also provide an extra calcium boost in your diet, so make sure to add them to your favorite sauces and soups!

In addition to this, a lot of products such as oatmeal, cereals, and juices are now fortified with calcium to help insure you get the appropriate amount as well!

 

  1. “Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age.” Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age. National Institute of Health, Jan. 2012. Web. 8 Mar. 2013.
  2. “Top 10 Foods Highest in Calcium.” Top 10 Foods Highest in Calcium. N.p., Sept. 2011. Web. 8 Mar. 2013.

 

Protein, Fiber and a Booty Barre Class? Sign me up!

Two weeks ago, along with Tracey Mallett, founder of The Booty Barre, Kashi held a protein and fiber-packed media event to launch a new GOLEAN cereal that launches in June. The two-hour event included samples of Kashi’s newest addition, Vanilla Graham Clusters, and a “kick your booty” workout that Tracey led. She also discussed the importance of the protein and fiber found in Kashi cereals as well as how important it is to incorporate physical activity into any health-improvement plan.

What is The Booty Barre?

If you’re into fitness trends, and from the West coast, you’ve probably heard about The Booty Barre. But for those of you who don’t know about it—The Booty Barre is a high-energy workout combining Pilates, dance and yoga—all accompanied by upbeat, get-your-blood-pumping music. And let me tell you, once the music started, Tracey’s workout was no joke. It worked the “booty” and much more! New Yorkers, think “Physique 57” and Pilates combined.

We started with a warm-up at the barre including some combinations and several repetitions of toe raises and pliés. Then we progressed on to all kinds of different body movements in addition to “booty” shaking—curtsies, stretching, arm and ab exercises, plus routines focusing specifically on the gluteus (buttocks). At the end, we each received our own copy of the workout. While a barre is helpful, one can easily use a sturdy chair for balance when following the DVD at home or on the go. Tracey also suggested that the kitchen counter will do too. Just so you know, we (Laura C. and Laura I.) were sore 48 hours after!!

Protein and Fiber-Packed Aftermath

After the workout, we had the chance to create our own parfaits beginning with sample bowls of Kashi GoLean Vanilla Graham Clusters. Combined with fresh raspberries and bananas, Kashi’s new cereal provided us with a delicious way to refuel. It also gave us a great opportunity to meet other bloggers and media representatives. We even got to speak with Tracey and the ladies representing Kashi—an amazing group of women!

This new GOLEAN cereal contains 11g protein, 9g fiber and 30g carbohydrates per one-cup serving.The first ingredient on the label is soy grits. Hum, do you know about this seemingly new ingredient? Soy grits—soybeans that have been toasted and broken into fine pieces. They are a popular high-protein and fiber, low-carb alternative to yellow and white (hominy) corn grits. You can enjoy these Vanilla Graham Clusters alone as part of a midday snack or decide to incorporate them in creative ways such as adding them to your granola bar ingredient list or simply sprinkling them on top of Greek yogurt. Click the link here for more information on other varieties and ways to use Kashi’s Cereals.

This protein and fiber-oriented media event was awesome to attend! Yet again, this type of experience drives home some of the most basic principles of nutrition education—healthy lifestyles begin with the consumption of balanced meals which include wholesome carbs high in fiber and adequate lean protein combined with consistent participation in movements/physical activities that you love, are practical and motivating. Being a certified diabetes educator, I am always seeking cereals that make people feel full and help rather than hurt blood sugar management. Kashi GOLEANn has always and now continues to fit the bill! Thanks Kashi!

 

Love Your Heart with 8 Heart-Healthy Foods

February isn’t just the month of flowers, chocolates or spending time with the ones you love..but as heart health month, it’s also about loving your heart! Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death for both men and women1. Lifestyle choices play a major role in preventing heart disease as well as controlling it. With this in mind, it’s never too early to start focusing on overall heart health. Show your heart how much you appreciate it by incorporating these heart healthy foods!

Berries – Please your heart with antioxidant rich berries like strawberries, goji berries and blackberries, which are an antioxidant powerhouse! Blueberries for example, house high amounts of phytonutrients like anthocyanidins, which aid in the process of neutralizing free radical damage in our cells. Consuming 1-2 portions of berries daily may help reduce cardiovascular disease risk2.

Brussel Sprouts – Tender, crunchy and just a little bit nutty, brussel sprouts have more to offer than just flavor. This cruciferous veggie contains vitamin C and vitamin A which help fight against heart disease, and vitamin Its high fiber content aids in digestion, helps lower cholesterol and reduces the risk for developing heart disease, stroke and hypertension3.

Chia Seeds – Chia seeds contain a high level of soluble fiber, which helps slow down digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol, reduce risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Just three tablespoons of these seeds can provide 37-44% of the American Heart Association’s recommended amount of fiber per day. Two tablespoons of chia seeds provide a 3:1 ratio of omega-3:omega-6 FA. With 3x more omega-3 than omega-6, adding chia seeds to a diet can help an individual reach optimal health by balancing out the ratio of fatty-acid intake in one’s daily nutrition. To learn more about chia seeds, click here.

Collard Greens – This cruciferous veggie is high in vitamins A,C, K and folate. It contains antioxidants and provides us with anti-inflammatory benefits.

Greek Yogurt – Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, Greek yogurt makes for a heart-healthy snack. It’s high in protein and calcium, which can help you stay fuller longer, while strengthening your bones.

Olives – Monounsaturated fats in moderation are heart-healthy fats that help lower blood cholesterol levels4. A rich source of monounsaturated fats is olives, which have been shown to lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and increase or maintain HDL (“good cholesterol”).

Salmon – High in omega-3 fatty acid, DHA and protein, salmon helps lower blood pressure and reduces inflammation5.

Wheat germ – Packed with B vitamins, the nutrients found in the grain play a vital role in maintaining heart-healthy bodily functions. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, B vitamins like folate are especially for women of childbearing age as well as any woman eating too little veggies or fruits. As an excellent source of fiber, wheat germ helps control cholesterol.