The Best Heart-Healthy Fruits and Vegetables

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By: , – Woman's Day Staff
10/21/2013 12:00 PM   :  5 comments   :  8,030 Views

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A delicious way to protect your ticker: Eat colorful fruits and vegetables. From watermelons to pineapples, there’s a rainbow of potent nutrients proven to help your heart. Read on to find out which produce is worth stocking up on. 

Yellow
One cup of pineapple has more than 100% of your day's vitamin C needs—C aids the heart by fighting free radicals, molecules that damage cells. The lutein and zeaxanthin in corn keep arteries from thickening, the main cause of heart disease.
 
Green
Research found that eating spinach—which is high in nitrates—lowered blood pressure and improved heart function in women. And kale is a good source of dozens of heart-healthy antioxidants.
 
Blue/Purple
According to a recent study, consuming 3 or more servings per week of berries helped reduce the risk of heart attack in women in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
 
Red
Watermelon and tomatoes are nature's top sources of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. One study found that people who had the most lycopene in their bloodstream were 55% less likely to have a stroke than those who had the least.
 
For a yummy take on both heart-healthy foods, whip up a watermelon tomato salad. In a bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 Tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp honey, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Add 4 tomatoes (sliced), ½ small red onion (thinly sliced) and ½ cup basil (torn) and toss to combine. Arrange 12 oz watermelon (cut into thin 2½-in. pieces) on plates. Top each with 1 cup baby arugula, then the tomato mixture. Top with ½ cup crumbled feta.

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 What are your favorite fruits and vegetables?


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