With its bounties of bright fruits and vegetables, summer is the perfect time to eat for a healthy heart. While that might seem difficult when confronted with an endless stream of cookouts, outdoor gatherings and vacations, it’s a good time to start eating better for long-term health.
Grab your shopping list. Here are some delicious summer heart-healthy foods to work into your next recipe.
This little green fruit is useful for far more than just guacamole. It’s full of monosaturated fat and can help lower cholesterol.
How to add it to your diet: Beyond guacamole, avocado can serve as a healthy alternative for most sandwich spreads. Try mashing it and adding it to your sandwich in place of mayonnaise. Or simply slice it and add it to a sandwich or salad.
If you find yourself hovering over that bowl of guacamole, swap out the chips for some healthy raw veggies like sliced colorful bell peppers, carrots, celery and cucumber.
2. Dark Leafy Greens
Walk the grocery aisles and you’ve likely seen the benefits of kale and other dark leafy greens being touted anywhere from the produce section to the supplement aisle—even the chip aisle. While it may seem that the buzz behind dark leafy greens is just another health fad, they do pack some serious punch for your heart. A variety of these veggies are full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and chlorophyll.
How to add them to your diet: Add some kale, spinach, arugula, broccoli, cabbage or romaine lettuce to your next salad or add some sauteed kale, spinach or broccoli to your next pasta dish. For a green smoothie, try blending, spinach, avocado, apple juice and apple for a healthy vitamin-packed snack.
While quinoa doesn’t necessarily have a “season,” this whole grain not only has the fiber benefits of grain, it has protein, too.
How to add it to your diet: Quinoa is delicious hot or cold, which makes it the perfect base or addition to a salad. Add mango, cucumber, almonds and a light dressing for a tasty summer salad. Or serve it alongside some grilled salmon—another heart-healthy summer favorite—for double the health benefits.
These tasty fruits aren’t just for pasta sauce—they’re tasty raw, added to salads, come in a variety of hues, and are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that can help lower cholesterol.
How to add them to your diet: Like quinoa, tomatoes are great hot or cold. Try stuffing them with meat, rice and herbs and then baking. Add some fresh slices of tomato to a sandwich or dice them up on a salad. For a delicious snack or appetizer, add some fresh basil, a cherry tomato and some fresh mozzarella cheese to a toothpick for a tasty mini kebab.