15 February 2013

Driscoll's Berries and Becoming Heart Healthy

Berry Healthy Heart

One of my goals for the new year has been to get more healthy. We started as a family last year by cutting down on junk and processed foods. Our goal this year has been to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in every meal. Since I am a big berry fan, I have been adding berries in every meal for everyone in the family. They contain a lot of great vitamins, fiber and are low in calories. And this is where Driscoll's helps us, their berries have been the only ones I buy Fresh to eat and beautiful to look at!!!    For More Info @Driscolls.com

Wishes for a Berry Healthy Heart!   

By: Elizabeth Somer

One in four. Those are the odds of dying from heart disease. It is the number one cause of death in the U.S. Fortunately, there is much you can do to prevent, slow, and possibly even reverse the progression of heart disease. Here are six simple ways to protect your heart:

1. Think Low-Energy-Dense
Being overweight increases the risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, factors that raise your risk of developing heart disease. The #1 waist-control tactic is to choose “low-energy-dense” foods. These are low-calorie foods that still fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied. Fruits, vegetables, cooked whole grains, and broth-based soups are great low-energy-dense choices. Have a bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries for breakfast, a bowl of vegetable soup for lunch, snack on raspberries and add an extra serving of steamed vegetables to dinner.

2. Boost nutrients
A diet filled with minimally-processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and fish, is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and omega-3s, which help keep the heart in tip top shape. Salmon with a side of raspberry blueberry kale salad is a delicious example of a heart-healthy meal.

3. Enjoy Berries
Berries are perfect for weight loss and heart health. They are loaded with B vitamins, vitamin C and potent antioxidants, such as the flavonoids, resveratrol, and more than 40 different anthocyanins. These strengthen tissue defenses against oxidation and inflammation, which are underlying factors in heart disease. Aim for a cup of berries several times a week. Looking for creative ways to add berries to meals? Check out these heart-healthy berry recipes.

4. Choose Lean Protein
If you eat meat, select extra-lean cuts, such as chicken breast without skin. Prepare meats with little or no butter, margarine, or other saturated or trans fats. Choose low-fat milk products. Then, keep an eye on portions; a serving of meat is 3 to 4 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards.

5. Toss the Salt
Too much sodium increases the risk for high blood pressure, a major factor in heart disease. Limit intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams, or about 1 teaspoon of salt per day. Use salt substitutes, spices, and herbs instead. Snack on raspberries instead of chips and you automatically lower sodium intake.

6. Move Every Day
Take the stairs instead of the elevator; wear a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day; opt for a bike ride instead of an afternoon on the couch. For your waistline, blood pressure and heart, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity almost every day.


And since It's Heart Healthy Month, here is an interesting article and study on Berries and a Healthy Heart from American Heart Association  

Strawberries, blueberries may cut heart attack risk in women

Study Highlights:
  • Women who ate at least three servings of blueberries and strawberries per week had fewer heart attacks.
  • Blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of compounds that have cardiovascular benefits.
DALLAS, Jan. 14, 2013 – Eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week may help women reduce their risk of a heart attack by as much as one-third, researchers reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of naturally occurring compounds called dietary flavonoids, also found in grapes and wine, blackberries, eggplant, and other fruits and vegetables. A specific sub-class of flavonoids, called anthocyanins, may help dilate arteries, counter the buildup of plaque and provide other cardiovascular benefits, according to the study.

“Blueberries and strawberries can easily be incorporated into what women eat every week,” said Eric Rimm D.Sc., senior author and Associate Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. “This simple dietary change could have a significant impact on prevention efforts.”
Blueberries and strawberries were part of this analysis simply because they are the most-eaten berries in the United States. Thus, it’s possible that other foods could produce the same results, researchers said.
Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States and the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom conducted a prospective study among 93,600 women ages 25 to 42 who were registered with the Nurses’ Health Study II. The women completed questionnaires about their diet every four years for 18 years.

During the study, 405 heart attacks occurred. Women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had a 32-percent reduction in their risk of heart attack compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less – even in women who otherwise ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables.

“We have shown that even at an early age, eating more of these fruits may reduce risk of a heart attack later in life,” said Aedín Cassidy, Ph.D., lead author and head of the Department of Nutrition at Norwich Medical School of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom.
The findings were independent of other risk factors, such as age, high blood pressure, family history of heart attack, body mass, exercise, smoking, caffeine or alcohol intake.
The American Heart Association supports eating berries as part of an overall balanced diet that also includes other fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products. Eating a variety of foods is the best way to get the right amounts of nutrients.
Other co-authors are Kenneth J. Mukamal, M.D.; Lydia Liu, M.Sc.; Mary Franz, M.Sc. and A. Heather Eliassen, Sc.D..
Author disclosures are on the manuscript.
The National Institutes of Health and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom funded the study.

Thanks for stopping by and Enjoy this berry recipe (courtesy of Driscoll's) to start on your Heart Health...
Let me know what you think !

Mixed Berry Parfait with Steel-Cut Granola

Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:25 minutes plus cooling
Servings:4 servings
Crunchy steel-cut oats are a great addition to this whole-grain-packed homemade granola. The recipe makes 4 cups granola. Use half for parfaits and store the remaining in an airtight container. Layer parfait with a mixture of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. Make up to 1 hour ahead of serving.



  • 1/4 cups maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cups wheat germ
  • 1/4 cups flax seeds
  • 1 cup sliced almonds


  • 4 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 cups Driscoll's Blackberries, Blueberries and/or Raspberries
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Whisk together maple syrup, honey, oil and vanilla in a large bowl. Combine steel-cut oats, old-fashioned oats, wheat germ, flax seeds and almonds in a medium bowl. Add oat mixture to maple syrup mixture and stir until evenly coated. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake about 25 minutes or until crisp and golden, stirring every 10 minutes.
  4. Make 2 layers of 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup granola and 1/4 cup berries in a parfait or wine glass. Repeat with remaining yogurt, berries and granola.


  1. The granola recipe makes 4 cups granola. Store remaining in air-tight container.
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