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Heart Healthy Foods to Add to Your Plate

Heart Healthy Foods to Add to Your Plate

It’s Valentine’s Day, and February is American Heart Month, so today, we are focusing on foods that are great for our hearts!

Tara Rochford, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Healthy Living Blogger, shares her recipes for a Healthy Heart Beet Berry Smoothie and Slow Cooker Taco Meatballs.

Heart Healthy Foods to Add to Your Plate

According to the CDC, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among men and women, making it important for everyone to pay attention to consuming foods that benefit our hearts.

Foods that are great for heart health:
● Leafy green vegetables – there are many benefits to leafy green vegetables, but when it comes to heart health the Vitamin K is what stands out. This promotes proper blood clotting and helps keep our arteries healthy.
● Whole grains – Grains like brown rice, whole wheat, barley, oats and buckwheat contain all parts of the grain (germ, bran and endosperm). The high fiber in these grains may help sweep LDL cholesterol out of our systems, which helps decrease the risk for heart disease.
● Berries – Berries (like raspberries, blueberries and strawberries) are very high in antioxidants, which can help reduce the oxidative stress and inflammation which may lead to heart disease.
● Walnuts – Walnuts contain omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, copper, and manganese. Some studies have shown that eating walnuts will decrease LDL cholesterol and help lower blood pressure.
● Beets – Studies have shown that beet consumption helps decrease blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease.

Other foods that are heart healthy – beans, avocado, fatty fish (like salmon), tomatoes, almonds, seeds, garlic, olive oil, edamame, green tea

Healthy Heart Beet Berry Smoothie

Yields: 1 large smoothie or 2 smaller smoothies

2 clementines, peeled
½ cup frozen berries (any kind will do, but I love strawberries and raspberries)
½ frozen banana
1 small red beet, peeled and chopped
1 date
1 tablespoon walnuts
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder, optional

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until combined/
You can enjoy it in a glass like this OR you can put it in a bowl and top it with some more heart healthy toppings like extra berries, chia seeds, hemp seeds, or oats for a little texture and added nutrition!

Slow Cooker Taco Meatballs

Yields: 4-5 servings
Cook Time: 90 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes

1 cup salsa (FODY Foods for low FODMAP)
¾ cup chopped walnuts, divided
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
½ cup ground oats or oat flour
½ cup green onion tops
2 teaspoons taco seasoning
1 lb ground turkey or chicken
1 4 oz can diced green chiles
1 egg
Toppings: salsa, avocado, more green onion tops
Pour salsa in the bottom of a large slow cooker.

In a large bowl, combine ½ cup walnuts, cheese, ground oats, green onion, taco seasoning, ground turkey or chicken, green chiles and egg. Mix well with hands then form into 16 balls of equal size.

Place meatballs in the slow cooker and sprinkle the remaining walnuts into the tops of each meatball.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 90 minutes or low for 3 hours.

Top with your favorite toppings and serve with your favorite vegetable side dish.

Other ways to incorporate walnuts and heart healthy foods:
● Add a large side salad to your evening meal (you can top this with heart healthy nuts and seeds, add in all kinds of vegetables, and dress it with olive oil)
● Incorporate berries into an afternoon snack or dessert – will satisfy a sweet tooth and provide your body with antioxidants.
● Use whole grains as often as you can while cooking and baking.

You can find these recipes and more from me at:
Tara Rochford Nutrition on Facebook and @TaraRochford on Instagram


Florida woman accused of zipping her boyfriend in suitcase for hours until he died

(CNN) — Sarah Boone called 911 and said her boyfriend got trapped in a suitcase and died during a game of hide-and-seek, according to court records.

The Florida couple had been drinking Chardonnay and doing puzzles Sunday night in their Winter Park apartment, Boone told authorities, when they thought “it would be funny” to hop in a suitcase as a part of the game, according to an arrest affidavit from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Boone, 42, zipped up Jorge Torres Jr. in the blue suitcase containing a few items for donating. Two of his fingers stuck out, so she assumed he could open it, according to the affidavit.

She went upstairs to bed and thought he’d get himself out of the suitcase and join her, only to wake up Monday and find him still in it and not breathing, the affidavit says.

Boone was arrested Tuesday and faces a second-degree murder charge after investigators determined videos on her phone contradicted her story.

The phone footage shows her mocking her boyfriend as she filmed his cries for help, and telling him it was his punishment for cheating, according to the arrest affidavit.

“I can’t f**king breathe, seriously,” her boyfriend said in the phone video. “That’s on you. Oh, that’s what I feel like when you cheat on me,” she responds.

The video shows the victim pushing on the suitcase and trying to get out, the affidavit says. When police showed the video to Boone, she pushed it away halfway through and said she didn’t want to watch it, the affidavit says.

Police searched her iPhone after she signed a waiver and gave verbal and written consent. CNN has reached out to her public defender.

Boone denied intentionally leaving Torres in the suitcase, according to the affidavit.

Boone called police Monday afternoon and said she woke up hours earlier but assumed her boyfriend was on his computer in another room. When she could not find him, she suddenly realized he was still in the suitcase.

“Sarah unzipped the suitcase and found Jorge unresponsive and not breathing,” the affidavit says. “Sarah zipped Jorge in the suitcase to where he could not get out. Jorge begged Sarah repeatedly telling her he could not breathe and Sarah left him in the suitcase … and demonstrated a depraved mind without regard for Jorge’s life.”

When police arrived at the scene, they found the victim near the front door with a laceration on his lip and bruising around his eye.

Boone is being held without bail. No cause of death is listed on the arrest affidavit.