How to Eat More Vegetables: Get Your 5 a Day for Better Cardiovascular Health
Fresh, colorful vegetables: dark green and leafy, red, ripe, and juicy; or bright orange and crunchy. This exquisite rainbow colored cornucopia is truly the class of foods that keeps our arteries healthy and clean. Vegetables contain disease fighting compounds including polyphenols such as the flavonoids, cartenoids, organosulfur compounds and vitamins. Here are some tips for getting in your daily dose of vegetables so you can harness the phenomenal medicinal power of natural plant compounds.
- Routinely eat a dark green salad appetizer at lunch and dinner when eating in or out, and remember to dress it simply with extra virgin olive oil and wine vinegar and/or fresh lemon juice.
- For quick and healthy, try purchasing prewashed, bagged, and pre chopped vegetables, toss them on a sheet of tinfoil, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and roast (425 degrees F for at least 30 minutes). Keep them in a container in the refrigerator for easy access .
- Purchase frozen vegetables (with a short ingredients list). Frozen vegetables, picked and frozen immediately after harvest, are nutritionally sound choice when you don't have time to prepare tastier fresh vegetables. (In fact, frozen spinach has been shown to retain its carotenoid power longer than fresh because of the lower temperatures at which it is stored.)
- If the weather's nice, fire up the grill and roast vegetables coated in extra virgin olive oil.
- Infuse fresh herbs into your olive oil or mix them into your salad dressing (olive oil vinaigrette) to add extra flavor and antioxidant power.
- When time doesn't allow for prepping fresh veggies, grab a bottle of jarred veggies, such as corn or roasted red peppers. Just watch out for added sodium, and if the veggies are packed in oil check to ensure that it's olive oil.
- You can always get an array of colorful vegetables at a salad bar (some supermarkets even have them). Avoid the mayonnaise or oil-added veggie selections. Pile on the plain colorful vegetables instead and dress with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- Remember, no lunch or dinner without that rainbow of vegetables!
© 2011 Janet Bond Brill, Ph. D. R.D., LDN, author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease
Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease, is a diet, nutrition, and fitness expert who has appeared on national television. She is the author of Cholesterol Down: 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol In 4 Weeks Without Prescription Drugs, and specializes in cardiovascular disease prevention. Dr. Brill lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.