Every month is Heart Month at Henry Mayo, but February marks the opportunity to further raise awareness and educate our community about heart health. When you take care of your heart by managing stress, eating well and exercising, you take care of your whole body. All your organs- from brain to liver- your arteries, vessels, muscle cells, and everything in between benefits from the antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and oxygen improving aspects of caring for our body and mind.
Can you focus on adding in some heart healthy foods this month? Why not try some beets! Beets hold a very special compound called nitrates. In the body, we convert dietary nitrate to nitric oxide (NO), and in turn NO signals the muscles around our arteries that stiffen and cause high blood pressure to relax. Relaxed arteries allow blood to flow evenly and make our heart work less. The less our heart has to work to pump blood around our body day to day, the longer it will last us.
Buy beets fresh, with the beet greens attached. Cleaned and peeled raw beets can be grated onto salads or cut up and added to smoothies. They add amazing color, but watch out for pink stained fingers! Clean and chop the greens to add to a soup or egg scramble. Roasted or steamed beets taste delicious with pastas or as a side with other cooked vegetables like potato or cauliflower. Buy canned and jarred beets in the grocery store, as a convenient veggie option. The pickled vinegar options are a favorite, for a sweet, tart crunch.
Help your heart this month by trying some beets, maybe the quick salad below, and joining us at one of our heart health focused classes this month.
Easy Beet Chopped Salad
1 cup diced pickled or vinegar marinated beets
- Right now I am enjoying the Love Beets brand
1 cup diced cucumber
½ a small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
A little salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the veggies and herb in a bowl and mix. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and gently mix. Eat alone as a snack or side. Serve on top of some mixed lettuce and top with a protein- garbanzo beans, grilled chicken- for lunch or dinner. Enjoy!