Go Green for a Healthier Heart
By Liz Moore, RD, LDN
Spring has arrived — and everything’s coming up green! So what better time
to include green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and beet greens in
your daily diet? Fresh, crisp greens not only liven up any recipe, but are
teeming with nutrients that can help support heart health.
Leafy greens are a natural source of nitrates, which are converted by the
body into nitric oxide, a gas that lowers blood pressure and promotes blood
flow. They also contain phytochemicals, which can help prevent hardening of
the arteries and lower inflammation linked to heart disease.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control includes green leafy vegetables in its
list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV) — foods most strongly
associated with reduced chronic disease risk.
The versatility of leafy green vegetables means you have your pick of ways
to enjoy them. Raw, sautéed, steamed — the choice is yours! And a great
place to start is trying our spring green recipes below.
Whole Wheat Pasta with Sautéed Beet Greens
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. beet greens (about 2 bunches), thoroughly washed and chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
12 oz. box whole wheat penne pasta
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic for 1 minute.
Stir in the greens, mixing until they become slightly wilted. Stir in the
cherry tomatoes for an additional minute and remove from heat.
Prepare the whole wheat pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain
and put into a large serving bowl. Top pasta with beet green and tomatoes
mixture. Add pepper to taste and top with parmesan cheese.
Total calories per serving: 210; Total fat: 5g; Saturated fat: 0.5g; Total
cholesterol: 2mg; Sodium: 140mg; Total carbohydrates: 40g; Total fiber: 7g;
Sugar: 1g; Protein: 7g
10 oz. package of baby spinach
6 dates, chopped small
1/4 cup walnuts
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 oz. semi-soft goat cheese
Combine spinach, dates and walnuts in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and black
pepper to taste, to make the dressing. Pour dressing over the salad and
toss. Top with goat cheese and serve.
Total calories per serving: 180; Total fat: 14g; Saturated fat: 2g; Total
cholesterol: 7mg; Sodium: 80mg; Total carbohydrates: 9g; Total fiber: 2.5g;
Sugar: 6g; Protein: 5g
1 cup pineapple
1 cup kale, thoroughly washed, stems removed
1/2 cup non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp mint
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Add water to reach desired thickness.
Elisabeth (Liz) Moore, RD, LDN, is our resident guru in heart-healthy
. She is a registered dietitian for BIDMC's CardioVascular Institute (CVI)
and sees patients in BIDMC's outpatient nutrition clinic and the CVI's
Cardiovascular Health and Lipid Center. Moore received her BS degree in
human nutrition from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Above content provided by the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult