Americans Falling Short on Heart-Healthy Phytonutrients
(Family Features) - Most people consider color an important factor in fashion, home design, cosmetics, even landscaping. But a new study shows that they don't give color much thought when it comes to food which can improve heart health.
Americans are falling short on heart-healthy phytonutrients, according to "America's Phytonutrient Report: Heart Health by Color," a new report released by the Nutrilite Health Institute.
It finds only two out of 10 Americans consume "prudent intake" levels of select heart-healthy phytonutrients, leaving the other 80 percent with a "cardio phytonutrient gap."
"This report makes it clear that most adults are not getting the recommended intakes of fruits and vegetables, which are packed with beneficial compounds like phytonutrients," says Dr. Ken Kornman of Interleukin Genetics, and Scientific Advisory Board Member for Nutrilite Health Institute.
Phytonutrients are natural components or compounds of plants thought to offer benefits to health.
Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and teas are rich sources of phytonutrients. Though there are many important phytonutrients, the report focuses on four - allicin, quercetin, anthocyanidins and resveratrol - that research suggests may benefit the heart. These compounds are grouped in the white and purple/blue color categories and are commonly found in garlic, onions, apples, blueberries and grapes.
"Heart health can be supported by certain lifestyle habits including daily exercise and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which include low calorie sources of potassium, fiber, folic acid, and vitamins A, C and E," added Amy Hendel, Nutrilite's Phytonutrient Coach.
To help close the gap and promote heart-friendly lifestyle choices, Hendel, a registered physician assistant and health/wellness expert, offers the following tips:
- Cook with Garlic and Onions. Garlic offers you the benefits of allicin, a phytonutrient that supports healthy blood pressure. Onions provide the benefit of quercetin, a phytonutrient that also supports healthy blood pressure.
- Heart-Healthy Snacking. A cup of tea with apple slices, a small piece of dark chocolate or a handful of nuts are all good, heart-healthy snack options.
- Exercise. It's important to incorporate a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise into your daily routine.
- Small Changes. Improving your heart health can be as easy as making small changes to your diet. Toss a handful of blueberries onto your cereal, add some chopped apples to your salad or snack on some grapes.
- Meeting the Daily Goal. For those having trouble getting enough fruits and vegetables, natural, plant-based supplements can help close the "cardio phytonutrient gap."
For more information on America's Phytonutrient Report: Heart Health by Color, the health benefits of phytonutrients and practical tips, visit www.nutrilite.com/color.