Heart-Healthy Food for the Fall

With the leaves changing color and cooler temperatures comes the bounties of Fall. Halloween candy and Thanksgiving buffets can be a downfall to a heart-healthy diet. Rich, fat-laden foods fill our plates and tempt our senses. It’s possible to stick to a heart-healthy diet, however, while indulging in the rich flavors of the season. With a few wise choices, you can enjoy the myriad of indulgences Fall has to offer without endangering your efforts at heart health.

Exercise

Fall ExerciseAlthough the days are shorter and cooler, it’s important to maintain an exercise routine. Variance is the key to maintaining interest in an exercise program. If walking a local shopping center becomes tiresome, consider joining a community center or gym. Change your routine regularly to maintain variety and interest in exercising. Use caution when engaging in outdoor activities like shoveling snow. While it may be excellent for physical fitness, it can put too strong a strain on your heart. Talk to your doctor about your best practices and limits.

Fall Produce

Fall produce is remarkably varied and packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Green beans and apples provide excellent sources of fiber. Brussel sprouts offer antioxidants, important elements that reduce free radical damage within the body. Winter squash is another excellent source of antioxidants, as well as fiber. Clementines, a small, sweet citrus fruit, are packed with potassium, as are pomegranates. Cauliflower is packed with vitamin C, while beets provide nitrates.

Balance

Although it’s wise to pass over buttery dishes and gravies at the Thanksgiving table, there will be plenty of opportunities to indulge in the flavors of the season. Reach for the leaner white meat from the turkey, and load your plate with the variety of colors and flavors made up by fall produce. By choosing vitamin and mineral rich foods, you’ll do your heart a favor.