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8 Red Foods That Rule for A Healthy Heart!


Historically, Latinos were viewed as the least likely to die from heart-related diseases. This, believe it or not, is due to our diet, which is way more balanced than the traditional American diet. Many of our diets are rich in the lean protein, like chicken or pernil and are made with heart-healthy spices. What kills us (literally) is not what we eat, but   we prepare our traditional foods (e.g., frying, using lard, etc.). But that’s another article at another time. And when we combine our traditional ways with American diets (fast-foods), the end result has seen an increase in other diseases that make us more susceptible to heart issues. Over the past few years research conducted by the American Heart Association  found that Latinos face even higher risk of cardiovascular diseases because of high blood pressureobesity and diabetes. Enter our diet. Or more fittingly, the ability to change our diet with more vegetables that are as bright as our culture. This includes adding more green leafy vegetables, orange foods, and last but not least, foods that are bright red and full of sabor. Here, we highlight the top eight red foods that really rule for a healthy heart and why every Latino needs to eat them.

OK, so beets aren’t exactly red. But its betalain, which is responsible for the deep, plum coloring, is also filled with phytonutrients, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

Red Apples
Yes, it is true. An apple a day will keep the doctor away—especially when it comes to heart problems. A study done in 2011 found that eating apples daily appeared to lower levels of cholesterol and two other markers associated with plaques and inflammation in artery walls. “We were pleasantly surprised …” that apples so effectively lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol, says study researcher Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD, Margaret A. Sitton Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at The Florida State University in Tallahassee. Apples are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber, which blocks cholesterol absorption in the gut and encourages the body to use, rather than store, the waxy stuff. Apple peels are also packed with polyphenols—antioxidants that prevent cellular damage from free radicals.

Red Cabbage
Perfect for making slaw for tacos, or for your corned beef dish, did you know that this cruciferious vegetable is loaded with anthocyanins (antioxidants) and vitamin C, which a recent study says may help people with heart failure live longer? The bonus is that eating it will also help to lower cholesterol levels.

Red Cherries
This is one time where a tart fruit is actually better for you than the sweet kind. The bright red you see in cherries come from it’s antioxidants called anthocynanins, which are also responsible for providing anti-inflammation and cardiovascular benefits, which reduce post-work out muscle fatigue.

Red Onions
Who doesn’t love the taste of red onions—whether raw in salads or carmelized— in a meal? The bonus that comes with its good taste is that red onions contain flavonoids (found in the outer layers, primarily), which helps to prevent heart attacks while the sulfur compounds increase the anti-clotting abilities in our bodies and can possibly avoid blood platelet cells clumping together. According to recent research, these sulfur compounds may also aid in lowering triglyceride levels in the blood and boost the cell membrane function in red blood cells.

Red Chile Peppers
Perfect for our palettes, just one red chili pepper contains  2 1/2 times the RDA for vitamin C. These peppers also contain vitamin A, lots of B vitamins, and important minerals like iron and manganese.

Red Bell Peppers
Labeled a super food, red bell peppers offer a nice dose of vitamins A, C, E and B6! They also conta Red bell peppers also contain phytochemicals such as beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, which also protects against lung cancer, and lycopene.

Red Tomatoes
The activating ingredient in tomatoes is lycopene, a phytonutrient that gives the tomatoes their red hue; they also pack a nice amount of potassium and vitamin C. While we know they’re great for salsa, salads and other foods, a recent research study shows that women who eat more tomato-based foods enjoy greater protection against heart disease.

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