Heart-smart choices that add up

Published On: Oct 14 2011 10:18:19 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 11 2011 10:37:59 AM EDT

From PureMatters.com

Healthy eating is all about math: subtracting fat, counting calories, dividing portions. But let's not forget adding. "Adding just one food to another can make a tremendous difference in your total nutrient intake and offer significant health gains," says Tara Gidus, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Here are quick pairings that taste great, take seconds to make, and add up to amazing heart health.

Whole grain cereal (any kind) + sunflower seeds

Sprinkling 3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds into your morning cereal provides more than 100 percent of your day's requirements for alpha-tocopherol, the most active form of vitamin E. As an antioxidant, vitamin E protects cells from damage caused by destructive free radicals that can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Garden salad + canned wild salmon

Adding 3 ounces of canned wild salmon to your salad provides half of the weekly recommendation for healthy omega-3 fats. The fatty acids found in canned salmon are linked with improvements in heart and brain health. Choosing wild lowers your exposure to dioxin, a cancer-causing contaminant found in the feed given to the farm-raised variety.

Seltzer + grape juice

Grape juice contains a phytochemical called resveratrol found in the skin of red and purple grapes. Research links resveratrol to lower blood pressure, reduced LDL cholesterol, and fewer blood clots.

Soup (any kind) + pinto bean

s Adding 1/2 cup of beans to soup lowers both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol -- the unhealthy kind that contributes to the buildup of arterial plaque -- according to researchers at Arizona State University Polytechnic. They found that people who ate 1/2 cup of pinto beans a day lowered both their total and LDL cholesterol by about 8 percent. (Beans are high in fiber, which decreases levels of LDL by reducing its absorption.) One-half cup of black, kidney, or pinto beans supplies about one-third of your day's fiber needs. The heat from soup cooks canned beans through, and they add heft to a lighter broth.

Sometimes it's one simple swap that can yield the biggest benefits.

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Source: Pure Matters http://www.purematters.com/prevention/heart-disease/heart-smart-choices-that-add-up