Author: Lee Ann DiBiase, Regional Wellness Director
You may have heard of Go Red Day being a day to wear red in recognition of Heart Health Month (February), but do you know why it’s so significant? Heart attacks and strokes are the cause of death in one out of three women, and 80% of those diseases in women could be prevented by prioritizing heart health.
This observance is celebrated on the first Friday of February and was created by the American Heart Association to inform, educate and empower the public on the importance of heart health in women and what they can do to take control of their long-term well-being.
So, what does a heart-healthy diet look like? It’s rich in fruits and vegetables, good fats from nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado, whole grains and lean proteins. Pairing that with moderate exercise has been shown to reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes in women.
The name “Go Red” doesn’t just come from the color of the heart, but from the numerous red foods that provide several phytochemicals that have been shown to protect against heart disease. Some of my favorite delicious red foods are tomatoes, red bell pepper, red onions, beets, strawberries, cherries, red grapes, cranberries, raspberries, radishes, red cabbage and red apples. Next time you’re preparing a salad, consider topping it with beets, dried cherries and red onion, then finish with a cup of strawberries and raspberries for desert – now that’s hearth healthy!
BONUS! Check out this deliciously heart-healthy recipe.
Red Quinoa Fruit Salad
Makes 6 – ½ cup servings
3 T dried cranberries
1 1/3 cup boiling water
¾ cup red quinoa , dry
1 cup, 2 T vegetable stock
¼ cup lemon zest grated fine
2 ¾ tsp parsley fresh chopped
1/3 cup; 2 T red grapes, halved
3 T green onions, chopped
¼ tsp each kosher salt and ground black pepper
*Use whatever fruit you have on-hand!
1. Soak cranberries in boiling water for 5 minutes to rehydrate. Drain excess water.
2. In a pot bring the vegetable stock to a boil and stir in the quinoa. Cover and reduce the heat to a low heat and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the lid, stir the quinoa and cook without a lid for 5 additional minutes. Drain and cool.
3. Add the remaining ingredient toss to combine. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
Per ½ cup: Calories: 197; Fat 2 g; Sat fat: 0.2 g; Carb: 41 g; Fiber: 4 g; Protein: 5 g; Sodium: 193 mg.
Lee Ann DiBiase, MS, RDN – Eurest Regional Wellness Director
Lee Ann’s passion for food and nutrition began when she lived in San Francisco, working in the finance industry. She returned to the East Coast to pursue a Master’s degree in food science and nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. She has since worked in several areas of nutrition and wellness.