Heart Health in a Bowl


...elusive dreamer
Apr 5, 2009
Nutrition in a bowl for heart health, sometimes called 'Buddha Bowls', they are definitely heart healthy, more here. http://energytimes.com/pages/features/0118/bowls.html

Bowls for Heart Health

Heart-healthy foods make a perfect match for bowl meals and include many tasty options. The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts, legumes and non-tropical oils. Many fit perfectly into bowl-based recipes.

“Whether in the form of smoothie bowls, salad bowls or burrito bowls, the combinations are endless,” says Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, registered dietitian and creator of ForTheLoveof
Diabetes.com. Zanini recommends adding a couple of the following heart-healthy components to your bowl.

Leafy greens and other non-starchy veggies: Kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and arugula are all rich in phytochemicals that are shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, says Zanini.

“Additional veggies like bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and broccoli add even more nutrients including potassium, which is linked to lower blood pressure.” A recent study in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that getting 10 servings of fruits and veggies each day may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 28%.

Healthy fat: Some fats raise cholesterol while others help lower heart disease risk. Avocado, olives or olive oil, nuts, nut butters and seeds are good options to help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides, raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol and reduce inflammation, notes Zanini, who adds, “Inflammation contributes to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, leading to a variety of cardiovascular complications.”

She recommends a healthy fat at each meal, as this helps keep you full and satisfied for at least three to four hours after you’ve eaten your meal.

Quality protein: Chicken breast, fish such as salmon or tuna, beans,

tofu, tempeh, Greek yogurt and eggs are all good sources of quality protein and make good bowl components, says Zanini. One study (Circulation 8/10) found that consuming one serving of poultry is associated with a 19% lower risk of cardiovascular disease than one serving of red meat per day.

Fresh fruits: Berries, mango, kiwi, pineapple, etc. are all rich in potassium and antioxidants. “Antioxidants help prevent disease by fighting free radicals that cause cellular damage, which contributes to heart disease,” says Zanini. Chemicals found in fruit called phytochemicals are responsible for the rich pigments that give fruits such as berries their bright color. So for the highest amount of antioxidants, choose colorful, highly- pigmented fruits. “The darker the color the better,” Zanini adds.

Whole grains: Quinoa, brown rice, barley, oats, farro and even whole-grain pastas are all great sources of fiber, which helps lower total and LDL cholesterol levels. “Regardless of the whole grain you choose, I recommend limiting to two-thirds of a cup (cooked) to keep meals balanced,” says Zanini.

Keep add-ons and dressings simple, such as those made with citrus juice, hummus or tahini for drizzling onto bowls. Other optional add-ons include pickled or fermented vegetables; these contain probiotics, live beneficial bacteria that have been linked to lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol levels.

Chia, flax, and hemp seeds are also great additions to any bowl due to their fiber and omega-3 fatty acid content, both of which link to reduced cholesterol and inflammation. Top it all off with fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, dill, basil, rosemary and parsley for antioxidant power for minimal extra calories.