February gives us Valentine’s Day & Heart Health Awareness – with that – let’s talk about Blood Oranges, Pomegranates, and Beets – What do they all have in common? They offer complex red/purple shaded pigments (antioxidants) that each have a unique set of healing benefits for our heart and can all be found at your #OneStopShop, Nutrition Stop. An 18-year study found that women who eat three or more servings of violet-based foods per week have a 32% lower risk of heart attack. Our store is stocked with heaps of foods that nourish, heal, radiate a vibrant heart. Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Beets & Pomegranate Recipe | EatingWell
Blood Oranges support proper flow of blood within the body, which helps in the healthful functioning of your heart. They can help regulate low density lipoproteins (LDL) from rising. The anthocyanins, the purplish compounds that give blood oranges their unique coloring, help protect against oxidative stress in the blood vessels along with the heart. They can help regenerate the cardiovascular system and repair damaged tissue. A small study that enrolled 15 people found that drinking 13.5 ounces of blood orange juice daily for 2 weeks resulted in significant improvements in flow mediated dilation (FMD). This is a measure of blood vessel function. They are also rich in Vitamin C, Quercetin, and Potassium.
Pomegranates contains punicic acid and punicalagins, which are both potent polyphenols (antioxidants) found in pomegranate juice, seed, and peel. Punicic acid, the main fatty acid in pomegranate, may help protect against several steps in the heart disease process – A 4-week study in 51 people with elevated triglyceride levels showed that 800mg of pomegranate seed oil per day significantly lowered triglycerides and improved the triglyceride-HDL ratio. We love adding the frozen seeds to granola, yogurt, chia pudding, smoothies, salads, or straight from the bag. According to a study, people with hypertension who had a glass of pomegranate juice (150 ml/day) between lunch and dinner for 2 weeks experienced significant reduction in blood pressure. Folks with atherosclerosis who consumed pomegranate juice for a year showed that it reduces the common carotid intima-media thickness, which is the thickness of the inner two layers of the carotid artery, by up to 30%. Research suggests the potent antioxidant properties of the polyphenols are the culprit.
Beets: from reducing inflammation to improving heart health, provide a bounty of benefits. The stark red color comes from betalains that have powerful antioxidant effects. They can help reduce inflammation, protect our cells from oxidative damage, and may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, or other dis-eases. Beets are also a great source for nitrates (the good kind) that help widen blood vessels. Through a chain reaction, our bodies change nitrates into nitric oxide, which helps with blood flow and blood pressure. In studies, drinking about 2 cups of beet juice daily or taking beet juice capsules lowered pressure in healthy adults. Beets can increase the amount of oxygen in the body up to 20% and provide the muscle cells more energy. They can lower homocysteine levels, which is a byproduct protein that is released when the amino acid methionine is broken down in the body. The high levels of betaine in beets are excellent at helping the body detox homocysteine. Consuming beets daily will provide vitamins, minerals, help reduce homocysteine, lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and help cool inflammation.