Frank J. Rosalie, owner of Fitness Together of Williamsburg,
www.fitnesstogether.com/willamsburg, 757-345-2246, offers these tips for heart health in February.
He writes: "It’s Heart Health Month meaning this month is ablaze with the color red! The purpose of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement is to call attention to the fact that heart disease is the #1 killer of women (and men). Take care of your heart and tap into the heart-healthy power of eating red to garner the healing power of this fabulous group of nutrition powerhouse foods.
Red is the new green, at least as far as heart-healthy eating goes. The bright hue of red foods (and no, I don’t mean the Red Hots candy you ate as a kid!) is a sure sign the food is packed with a lot of disease-fighting antioxidant plant chemicals. The specific phytochemicals include some names you may have heard before: lycopene, carotenoids and resveratrol. Here is a list of the top 5 RED foodsyou should be eating on a regular basis to keep your ticker strong:
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes and cooked tomato products (such as tomato sauce and tomato paste) are high in the powerful antioxidant, lycopene. Lycopene is a plant pigment responsible for the deep red color of tomatoes. Lycopene has numerous health benefits, most notably its ability to ward off prostate cancer in men. When it comes to heart health, lycopene stops LDL or “bad” cholesterol form becoming oxidized by free radicals hence prevents the formation of arterial plaque. Cooking tomatoes has been shown to increase the amount of lycopene that the body can absorb by breaking down plant cells that trap the substance, so eat that tomato sauce!
- Red Bell Peppers: Who knew? One red bell pepper has three times the vitamin C as an orange! Red bell peppers are also packed with other antioxidants as well as fiber which functions to keep your intestines in good shape as well as lower your cholesterol. Try snacking on red pepper with a hummus dip.
- Beets: Reddish purple beets are chock full of plant chemicals called anthocyanins which give them such a deep red color. Anthocyanin pigments and the associated flavonoid polyphenols have demonstrated the ability to protect against a myriad of human diseases, and anthocyanins are also powerful antioxidants that can protect the heart.
- Apples: An apple a day truly does keep the doctor (cardiologist) away! Sometimes the best heart medicine is the kind you can get from your produce section. In this case, apples contain a large amount of pectin, a soluble fiber, which blocks cholesterol absorption in the gut and encourages the body to excrete the cholesterol. Apple peels are also packed with polyphenols -- antioxidants that prevent cellular damage from free radicals. So whatever you do, don’t toss the peel.
- Red wine: Red wine is liquid heart medicine. Studies have shown that drinking one glass a day with a meal promotes clear, healthy arteries. Make sure to go red and not white when you choose your color of wine as red contains the powerful antioxidant resveratrol as well as flavonoids which partner together to ease arterial inflammation. Your best bet for maximum antioxidant power is to drink either pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon. Remember, one glass a day is all you need as any more could cause health problems. Don’t drink? Try a small glass of 100% Concord grape juice instead.
Let a Fitness Together trainer work with you to develop a heart-healthy exercise program to accompany your heart-healthy diet, a program designed to meet your specific goals. You’ll also receive nutritional counseling through the Nutrition Together program, which will complement your workouts."
Shrimp Fra Diavolo
14 ounces frozen extra-large peeled and deveined shrimp, tails on (thawed)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes with basil (no salt added)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 box whole grain angel hair pasta (14 oz)
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook shrimp about 3 minutes per side until done and pink in color. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Heat remaining olive oil in the same skillet and add garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper and cook about one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in canned tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar and cook at least 15 minutes, stirring constantly and breaking whole tomatoes apart with a spoon. Add back the shrimp. Cook pasta according to package directions. Divide pasta and sauce among four plates. Serve hot with a touch of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Per serving: 1 cup pasta and ½ cup sauce
Food weight: 4.0
Fat: 19 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol:15 0 mg
Sodium: 550 mg
Carbohydrate: 23 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Sugars: 13 g
Protein: 24 g
For more health news, go to www.dailypress.com/health