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Oftentimes, we all enjoy a meal that is unhealthy but did you know that while it’s quite common to adopt an unhealthy diet about 90% of us are not getting the proper daily amount of vegetables?

For this reason, we want to highlight the importance of a diet that is full of fruits and vegetables and the benefits they contribute to your heart health. Which vegetables and fruits are the most heart-healthy though?

To help, we’ve shared below some of the best fruits and vegetables that you can have for a heart-healthy diet, as well as when they’re in season.

Heart Healthy Fruits and Vegetables

Berries

Berries such as strawberries and blueberries are believed to carry antioxidants that help to decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. This is attributed to the benefit of compounds known as anthocyanins, and flavonoids.

When they’re available: 

  • Strawberries: May, June, July, August, September, and October
  • Blueberries: July, August, and September
  • Cranberries:  September,  October and November
  • Raspberries: July, August, September, and  October

Potatoes

Although potatoes can be more challenging to your heart-healthy dining, if you don’t deep fry them, they can be extremely good for your heart. They’re rich in potassium and high in fiber (if the skin is left on), which again, can help lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

When they’re available: year-round

Tomatoes

Similar to potatoes, tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium. Plus they’re a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help to get rid of “bad ” cholesterol, keep blood vessels open and lower heart attack risk.

When they’re available: 

  • Greenhouse: year-round
  • Field: July, August, September, and October

Broccoli, Spinach and Kale

When it comes to your heart health, you can’t go wrong with vegetables. Green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, or kale can give an extra boost to your heart. These are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and can free your body of potentially harmful compounds. They’re also high in fiber and contain lots of vitamins and minerals.

When they’re available: 

  • Broccoli: June, July, August, September, and October
  • Spinach: May, June, July, August, September, and October
  • Kale: June, July, August, September, and October

Avocado

These soft, tasty fruits will provide your body and heart with plenty of healthy fats. They’re composed of monounsaturated fats, high in antioxidants, and also contain potassium to help lower heart disease factors.

When they’re available: (commercially) generally year-round

Asparagus

One of the most important heart-healthy ingredients that are found in asparagus is vitamin B6. This vitamin can lower homocysteine, a form of amino acid that has been linked to heart disease.

When they’re available: May and June

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers contain folate, another nutrient that can reduce homocysteine.

When they’re available: 

  • Greenhouse: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December
  • Field: July, August, September, and October

Carrots

Carrots are rich in carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants that can combat free radicals that cause heart disease.

When they’re available: February, March, April, May,  July, August, September, October, November, and December

Garlic

Garlic contains phytochemicals that boost immunity and protect the heart against diseases.

When they’re available: February, July, August, September, October, November, and December

Onions

Onions are a rich source of sulfur-containing phytochemicals. These phytochemicals can reduce cholesterol levels, and therefore, prevent heart disease.

When they’re available: year-round

If you’re interested in learning about other heart-healthy foods, check out our post on Ten Essential Foods For A Heart-Healthy Diet; And if you’d like to know when other fruits and vegetables are available, check out Foodland Ontario’s page.

Here are some heart-healthy food ideas for you to consider this season

Heart Healthy Meals

Tilapia and Vegetables

Grilled Corn Salsa

Piri Piri Chicken

Bulgur Wheat Salad

Peachy Chicken Salad

Summer Fruit Smoothie Ice Pops

Vanilla Lemon Berry Parfaits

Tart Apple Buttermilk Cake

Recipes From Our Resident Expert, Marsha Rosen, RD
Here are some heart-healthy recipes provided by Marsha Rosen, RD (Registered Dietitian). Marsha is 
Mike Salem’s sister and in addition to offering private nutrition counselling, Marsha provides group lectures, seminars and cooking demonstrations.

If you have a nutrition question for our dietitian, you can email Marsha here…

Do you have a heart-healthy recipe that you would like to share? Send your recipes to info@mikeynetwork.com

Serves 4

Ingredients

QUANTITYINGREDIENT
4 – 10”Whole wheat tortillas
8 – 12Leaf lettuce leaves, green or
red, washed
8 oz.Turkey breast, cooked, sliced thin
1-2Ripe tomatoes, cut into 16 wedges
1Ripe avocado, cut into 16 slices and tossed with 2 tsp.
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cupShredded romaine or arugula
1/2 cupLow-fat Ranch dressing

Instructions

  1. Wrap tortillas in barely damp, doubled layers of paper towels. Microwave on high for 45 to 60 seconds. Alternatively, heat tortillas individually in an ungreased large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Lay tortillas on a cutting board and layer ingredients.
  3. Fan the leaf lettuce on the top three-quarters of each tortilla, then lay the turkey slices on top, followed by tomato and avocado.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with the romaine or arugula and some of the dressing.
  5. Fold up the bottom quarter of the tortilla; roll each sandwich into a cone shape.
  6. Secure the tortilla with a toothpick. Serve immediately.

Recipes From Our Resident Expert, Marsha Rosen, RD
Here are some heart healthy recipes provided by Marsha Rosen, RD (Registered Dietitian). Marsha is Mike Salem’s sister and in addition to offering private nutrition counselling, Marsha provides group lectures, seminars and cooking demonstrations, and is a sought-after contributor to health-related publications.

If you have nutrition question for our dietician, you can email Marsha here…

Do you have a heart healthy recipe that you would like to share? Send your recipes to info@mikeynetwork.com

Oftentimes, we all enjoy a meal that is unhealthy but did you know that while it’s quite common to adopt an unhealthy diet about 90% of us are not getting the proper daily amount of vegetables?

For this reason, we want to highlight the importance of a diet that is full of fruits and vegetables and the benefits they contribute to your heart health. Which vegetables and fruits are the most heart-healthy though?

To help, we’ve shared below some of the best fruits and vegetables that you can have for a heart-healthy diet, as well as when they’re in season.

Heart Healthy Fruits and Vegetables

Berries

Berries such as strawberries and blueberries are believed to carry antioxidants that help to decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. This is attributed to the benefit of compounds known as anthocyanins, and flavonoids.

When they’re available: 

  • Strawberries: May, June, July, August, September, and October
  • Blueberries: July, August, and September
  • Cranberries:  September,  October and November
  • Raspberries: July, August, September, and  October

Potatoes

Although potatoes can be more challenging to your heart-healthy dining, if you don’t deep fry them, they can be extremely good for your heart. They’re rich in potassium and high in fiber (if the skin is left on), which again, can help lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

When they’re available: year-round

Tomatoes

Similar to potatoes, tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium. Plus they’re a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help to get rid of “bad ” cholesterol, keep blood vessels open and lower heart attack risk.

When they’re available: 

  • Greenhouse: year-round
  • Field: July, August, September, and October

Broccoli, Spinach and Kale

When it comes to your heart health, you can’t go wrong with vegetables. Green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, or kale can give an extra boost to your heart. These are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and can free your body of potentially harmful compounds. They’re also high in fiber and contain lots of vitamins and minerals.

When they’re available: 

  • Broccoli: June, July, August, September, and October
  • Spinach: May, June, July, August, September, and October
  • Kale: June, July, August, September, and October

Avocado

These soft, tasty fruits will provide your body and heart with plenty of healthy fats. They’re composed of monounsaturated fats, high in antioxidants, and also contain potassium to help lower heart disease factors.

When they’re available: (commercially) generally year-round

Asparagus

One of the most important heart-healthy ingredients that are found in asparagus is vitamin B6. This vitamin can lower homocysteine, a form of amino acid that has been linked to heart disease.

When they’re available: May and June

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers contain folate, another nutrient that can reduce homocysteine.

When they’re available: 

  • Greenhouse: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December
  • Field: July, August, September, and October

Carrots

Carrots are rich in carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants that can combat free radicals that cause heart disease.

When they’re available: February, March, April, May,  July, August, September, October, November, and December

Garlic

Garlic contains phytochemicals that boost immunity and protect the heart against diseases.

When they’re available: February, July, August, September, October, November, and December

Onions

Onions are a rich source of sulfur-containing phytochemicals. These phytochemicals can reduce cholesterol levels, and therefore, prevent heart disease.

When they’re available: year-round

If you’re interested in learning about other heart-healthy foods, check out our post on Ten Essential Foods For A Heart-Healthy Diet; And if you’d like to know when other fruits and vegetables are available, check out Foodland Ontario’s page.

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It’s easy to become overwhelmed by healthy eating, but your overall health will benefit if you can stick with healthy basics during this trying time. That means filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit, a quarter with protein-rich foods, and a quarter with whole grains, as described by Canada’s Food Guide.

Preparing meals can seem complicated though with hard to get ‘superfoods‘ seeming like the only way to cook nutritiously. But this is simply not the case — heart healthy foods are hiding in plain sight at every grocery store across the country. Fresh, frozen, shelf-stable and more, these delicious whole foods benefit your total body health. Below are some of our tips that you can use, without breaking the bank.

Choose Wisely

Plan your meals ahead of time, so you can shop once and get groceries for the next week or two. When you plan your meals, make sure to use your perishable vegetables, fruit and protein options first, and save the canned, frozen and shelf-stable food for later.

Peel it Yourself

Buying foods in their close-to-natural state will always save you money. A one kilogram bag of whole unpeeled carrots costs about one-third the price of the same size bag of pre-cut baby carrots. Convenience comes with a higher price tag.

Go Meatless on Monday

Pick one or more days per week to go fully meatless, focusing on the highly affordable protein found in beans, legumes, eggs and tofu. Transform humble edamame beans into an edible masterpiece with this Carrot, Parsnip and Edamame Salad, ideal for lunch or dinner on the days you go meatless, or any day.

Choose In-Season Foods

Shopping in season is a simple way to enjoy a healthy diet on a budget, without even thinking twice. Head to your local farmers’ market or grocery store each week with growing seasons in mind. For instance, buy asparagus in April or May (not December!) and strawberries in June. In the summertime, you’re spoiled for choice, though this way of cooking and eating works year-round.

Use Frozen Vegetables

Picked at the peak of freshness and flash frozen, these ice-cold health foods are often just as nutritious as they are fresh. Choose frozen produce free of sauces, salt and sugar, and keep your eye out for sales during the week. They’ll keep for months, allowing you to buy in bulk and add to stews, stir-fries, salads, sides and soups