Spring has officially arrived and before we know it, summer time will be knocking on the door. As a self-described foodie, one of the best things that I have come to look forward to as the warmer seasons and longer days set in are the fruits and vegetables. At no other time are they so packed with taste, juice, and so rich in nutrients and flavor.
Having grown up in a house where fresh fruits and vegetables were always part of our meals, I learned to love them at an early age. Whether it was my mother making her special spaghetti with "raw" tomato sauce (a summer-only special) or using a symphony of wonderful fresh vegetables in making her strained vegetable soup - something that at times was made months in advance and frozen for the winter time - fresh vegetables were always a main attraction. And that is certainly a good thing, as a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is an easy first step in controlling cardiovascular disease.
The benefits of vegetables in a heart healthy diet are well known; vegetables and fruits contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Additionally, eating more fruits and vegetables may help consume less foods that are higher in fats.
In another study done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the health and dietary habits of almost 110,000 men and women were followed for 14 years. The results found that the higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30 percent less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke.
When it comes to fending off high cholesterol and high blood pressure a diet rich in tomatoes, garlic, and leafy greens is a great start. Click here to get more information about heart healthy vegetables and their benefits. I know I will be very excited next time I go to the grocery store and find my favorite heirloom tomatoes at their sweetest. Healthy eating to all.
Published On: March 29, 2010