Add avocados to salads, sandwiches or snacks—they’re an important part of a heart-healthy diet because they’re high in antioxidants and unsaturated fat. But watch out because they’re also high in calories. An average-size avocado has about 230 calories, most of which are from monounsaturated fat.
Rock-hard avocados will ripen within a few days and become soft if stored in a paper bag at room temperature.
It’s easy to incorporate antioxidant- and vitamin-rich berries into practically every meal—toss a handful onto morning oatmeal or fold some into turkey or chicken salad for lunch. But remember, water causes berries to deteriorate so don’t wash them until you plan to use them.
Frozen berries are as nutritious as fresh, so keep a bag stashed in the freezer to add to your morning smoothie.
No wonder broccoli is so high on the list of superfoods—1 cup of raw florets contains over a day’s worth of vitamins C and K. Broccoli is always a great go-to side dish, but it’s also delicious as a soup and in a salad. Try one of these recipes below or search for your own!
Citrus enhances the flavor of nearly everything it touches. Packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, its bright flavor adds zip to appetizers, drinks and entrées.
[TIP] To give recipes even more intense flavor, add the minced zest of citrus fruit to any recipe calling for citrus juice.
Incorporate whole grains into daily menus to promote good digestive and cardiovascular health. Some of our favorite grains include bulgur and quinoa, but you can still increase your whole grain intake simply by changing to whole grain pasta.
Green tea contains high levels of antioxidants—substitute your morning cup of coffee with brewed green tea, or pour a glass of iced green tea for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, chard and collards are nutritional powerhouses with high levels of antioxidants, phytonutrients and vitamin K. Be sure to wash all greens well, especially if purchased in loose bundles rather than in bags. The leaves tend to be very sandy.
To thoroughly wash greens, fill a sink with cold water. Add the leaves and swish them in the water to loosen dirt and sand.
Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, are a great addition to a healthy diet. A small handful can tide you over between meals and they’re delicious in dips, pasta and marinades. But remember, eat nuts in moderation—they’re high in fat and calories.
Like avocados, olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat, making it a heart-healthy option that may help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Extra-virgin olive oil has the best flavor of olive oil varieties and is what you want to use on salads or drizzled over meat, fish or vegetables after cooking.
Salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for good cardiovascular health. You can try it pan-seared, baked or grilled thin slices of smoked salmon toast makes a unique, protein-packed breakfast option.
Store salmon in the coldest part of the fridge on a bed of ice that’s been covered with a piece of plastic wrap.
Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene which may help reduce cancer risk, and are high in vitamins A and C. Salads and sandwiches are the first dishes that come to mind when thinking about tomatoes, but they’re also delicious with eggs and on pizza.
Canned tomatoes make a good substitute for fresh tomatoes during winter months when tomatoes are out of season. Use canned tomatoes only in cooked dishes.
Yogurt is a good source of calcium, protein and vitamins. Thick, Greek-style yogurt can be used in recipes in place of sour cream, and it adds body to a morning smoothie. Use plain yogurt instead of flavored varieties to cut back on added sugar.