Go Green for a Healthier Heart

HappyHeartGardenBy 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

Serves 8

pastagreensIngredients

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
Black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

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.

Nutrition Facts: 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


Spinach Salad

Serves 6

spinachsalad

Ingredients

10 oz. package of baby spinach
6 dates, chopped small
1/4 cup walnuts
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
Black pepper
2 oz. semi-soft goat cheese

Directions

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.

Nutrition Facts: 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


Green Smoothie

Serves 2

greensmoothie Ingredients

1 cup pineapple
1 cup kale, thoroughly washed, stems removed
1/2 cup non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp mint

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Add water to reach desired thickness.


LizMoore Elisabeth (Liz) Moore, RD, LDN, is our resident guru in heart-healthy nutrition . 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 your doctor.

April 2016


Related Links