About eating what is good for the heart
If there is one organ in the body that wins the battle for the most beneficial foods, surely it is the heart. The brain is able to claim fish; the eyes, carrots. The liver? Who knows; liverwurst? All the lungs seem to demand is clean air. The stomach has a seafood diet, so the joke goes; whatever it sees, it eats. And, as it happens, garlic is a great food for liver function, but it is also good for the heart. It should be allowed, however, that whatever is good for the heart is good for gander. That’s the rest of the body, by the way.
The best beginning should not be a surprise: vegetables and fruits are on any heart’s birthday and Christmas wish list. If there is a holiday celebration every day of the year, the heart is first in line with these not-so-subtle requests. Whole vegetables and fruits top the list. The more recently out of the ground, off the vine and picked from the tree, the happier the heart will be; preferably, within minutes of the harvest, when the food is still alive with heath-giving vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Some even contribute protein and fat. No other broad selection of food types will provide all five basic elements needed for a healthy heart.
If purchasing processed veggies and fruit, it is better than nothing, but, unfortunately, we are not well tuned to what the heart really needs. It would tell us without reservation: “Feed me fresh!” Green, leafy vegetables are best, followed by orange (sweet potato, carrots, peppers), yellow and red veggies. Fruits’ best choices are out of the trees: apples, pears, apricots, oranges, peaches. However, just as with the long list of veggies (and do not forget garlic and its tasty cousin, onion), any fruit (did we say fresh?) is better than a bag of chips.
Protein contributors like fish (salmon tops the list; and you just knew a seafood diet was legitimate), nuts and beans are always appreciated by the heart.
Stop giving chocolate for a lover’s feast and make that a spinach leaf salad with roasted salmon chunks, almonds slivers, sliced apricots and marinated red onion slices. The marinade? Olive oil (unsaturated, naturally) whisked with balsamic vinegar, a little deli mustard and cracked peppercorns. Hold the salt and take a gander: the heart will jump handsprings.
If you have questions about eating what is good for the heart, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dietitian and nutritionist.