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Red Foods that Help Your Heart

Did you know that people who have diabetes are twice as likely to get heart disease as people without diabetes? If you have diabetes, there are a lot of steps that you can take to lower your risk. One is to include a variety of healthy foods in your eating plan. And in honor of February’s observances of National Heart Month and Valentine’s Day, why not try some of these red foods?

  • Red bell pepper. These jewel-like vegetables are bursting with nutrients, such as vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber, that protect against heart disease. One cup of chopped red pepper has just 40 calories and 9 grams of carb, making it a great choice any time of year.
    • Serving tip: Cut up strips of sweet red pepper to munch on at any time of day. Or stir some chopped pepper into your next batch of tuna salad.
  • Cherries. Cherries contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation, fight heart disease and possibly help lower blood sugar levels. Cherries also contain two other heart-healthy nutrients: vitamin C and potassium. Tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. One cup of tart cherries contains 52 calories and 13 grams of carb, fitting nicely into any diabetes eating plan.
    • Serving tip: Skip the overly sweet maraschino cherries and put a fresh cherry on your dessert instead.
  • Pomegranate. Pomegranate seeds can prevent plaque buildup in arteries and lower blood pressure. Thanks to compounds called anthocyanins, the juice from these seeds can help manage diabetes and fight prostate cancer and arthritis. One-half cup of seeds has 72 calories and 16 grams of carb.
    • Serving tip: Sprinkle pomegranate seeds onto salads, hot cereal or yogurt for a tangy-sweet treat.
  • Red kidney beans. Beans are one of the healthiest foods around. Red kidney beans in particular contain fiber, potassium and folate, nutrients that play a prime role in heart health. One-half cup of cooked kidney beans has 112 calories, 20 grams of carb and 6 grams of fiber. In addition, that half-cup of kidney beans contains as much protein as an ounce of beef – minus the saturated fat.
    • Serving tip: Serve up your next batch of tacos with kidneys beans as the filling instead of ground beef. Top with lettuce, tomato, sliced avocado and a sprinkling of shredded cheese. Enjoy!

 

Amy Campbell MS, RD, LDN, CDE (88 Articles)

Amy Campbell MS, RD, LDN, CDE is an experienced health, nutrition and diabetes educator and communicator with more than 25 years of experience within the healthcare sector. Amy has extensive expertise in editing and writing for patients, consumers and healthcare professionals; public speaking, teaching and group facilitation; project and account management; and content and curriculum development.

 

She is currently the Director for Clinical Education Content Development and Training at Good Measures LLC, a Health Professional Advisor at the Egg Nutrition Center, and a blogger/Writer for Madavor Media.

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