You likely already know that you should eat a diet containing a lot of fruits and vegetables. Any kind of vegetables or fruits that you add will have health benefits. However, when it comes to heart health, some are more beneficial than others.
Among the most nutritious vegetable families are leafy greens and cruciferous. Skip the iceberg lettuce, and look for those that are dark green in color. This indicates that there are more nutrients packed inside that are good for your heart. Other important vegetables are cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and kale.
Your best choices in fruit are from the citrus family. Fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits are the best choices for your heart. You’ll get the most benefit if you eat the whole fruit in its fresh form. But fruit juice also contains nutrients that are healthful.
Most people have between one and three servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This is nowhere near the recommended five servings that’s a bare minimum. Even better is to eat seven to nine servings. However, don’t try to go from one serving to nine all at once. Slowly introduce greater quantities into your usual eating habits. Here are some tips to help you sneak in extra servings throughout the day.
If you have eggs in the morning, mix in some veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers or onions. Drink some fruit juice with your toast and coffee. Make up a smoothie containing whole fruit that you can take with you as you head out the door. Or add some fruit to your cereal.
At lunch, include lots of veggies on your sandwich like lettuce, sprouts, and tomatoes. A bowl of vegetable soup counts as a serving. Eat a small salad along with your main course, or make the salad itself the entree. Try topping your salad with some fruit for extra flavor and nutrients.
If vegetables are already a staple of your evening meal, try adding an extra serving to your plate. If you’re not eating a vegetable with dinner at all, make a point of adding one. A tasty way to add more vegetables to your meal are by making hearty soups and stews. Or start each meal with a small salad.
You don’t have to make major changes to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet. Simply add a serving here or there. It won’t be long before you’re getting what you need for optimal heart wellness.