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Heart Healthy Seasonal Produce

by Kimberly R. on Friday, October 12, 2012

The fall harvest season brings a whole new assortment of delicious and heart-healthy fresh fruit and vegetables.

“Autumn is a time to shift from the seed fruit that we eat in the summer to all the nutrition-rich goodies, like the grapes and persimmons we get in the fall,” said Riska Platt, M.S., R.,D., a nutritionist at Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program  and a volunteer with the American Heart Association.

These fresh foods are not only tasty, but can help you feel better, get healthier and may protect against heart disease and stroke.

Colors of Fall
Fall brings its own color wheel of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Deep colors like oranges, reds, and purples are especially prominent in the cooler months. However, it’s important to strive for variety with your fall favorites, Platt said.

“Each season presents many different colors, but I really encourage people to try to eat a rainbow of colors,” she said. “Don’t just have a green salad; add all different colors into the salad. More colors usually means there is good nutritional value in your meal.”

Fruits and vegetables with color contain vitamins,  minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that have different disease-fighting elements. These compounds may be important in reducing the risk of many conditions, including cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends at least 4-5 servings per day of fruits and vegetables based on a 2000 calorie diet as part of a healthy lifestyle that can lower your risk for these diseases.

Fruits, Vegetables and Your Weight
The autumn months bring additional health and nutritional challenges. The shorter, cooler days can make it harder to get physical activity outdoors. And there are the looming (and calorie-packed) temptations of football party snacks, Halloween sweets and Thanksgiving buffets.

However, one good way to avoid those extra seasonal pounds is to keep eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

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