(Family Features) All aspects of health are important, but heart health is a crucial component of overall well-being. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans but it doesn’t need to be – lifestyle choices play a key role in heart health and it’s never too soon to adopt healthful habits.
From exercising and getting proper sleep to healthy eating – including heart-friendly snacks like grapes – consider these simple steps.
Adopting a balanced and nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats can impact heart health. One way you may lower your risk for heart disease is by
As an easy, convenient, heart-healthy food, grapes are a perfect ingredient for a heart-friendly eating plan that includes recipes like Grape, Broccoli and Avocado Salad with Toasty Oat Topping. Savory broccoli slaw pairs with the delicate sweetness of crisp, juicy Grapes from California while the toasted oat topping provides a crunchy finish.
Grapes are low in sodium and a good source of vitamin K, which promotes heart health, and contain 7% of the daily recommended intake of potassium, a nutrient critical to heart health. Grapes are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols and help maintain healthy circulation by promoting the relaxation of blood vessels.
In fact, according to a study published in the “Journal of Nutrition,” men with metabolic syndrome who consumed 1 1/2 cups of grapes every day showed reduced blood pressure, improved blood vessel function and a decrease in a key marker of inflammation.
Women who consumed 1 1/4 cups of grapes every day as part of a separate study published in the “Journal of Nutrition” benefited from reduced blood triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol levels, inflammatory proteins and other markers of heart disease.
Get Quality Sleep
Sleep is also critical for a healthy heart. Most experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. To help achieve that goal, create a bedtime routine by waking up and going to sleep at consistent times. Also ensure a comfortable sleep space by turning off electronics and setting the thermostat to a cozy temperature.
A regular exercise routine can have a positive impact on many areas of health. It can be especially beneficial for heart health by lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation and aiding in maintaining a healthy weight. At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity is recommended by the American Heart Association. Fuel your workout and recovery with heart-healthy and hydrating foods such as grapes.
Find more heart-healthy recipes at GrapesFromCalifornia.com.
Grape, Broccoli and Avocado Salad with Toasty Oat Topping
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Toasted Oat Topping:
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons steel-cut oats
- 1/8 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup quartered red or green Grapes from California
- 1/4 cup wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 bag (12 ounces) broccoli slaw
- 2 cups lightly packed torn curly kale
- 1 1/2 cups halved Grapes from California
- 1/2 cup minced red onion
- 1/3 cup chopped dried figs
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 large, firm but ripe avocado, diced
- To make toasted oat topping: In medium skillet over medium-low heat, cook butter, almonds, oats, salt and Italian herb seasoning about 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring frequently.
- To make dressing: In small blender, puree olive oil, grapes, wine vinegar, honey, sea salt and pepper, to taste, until smooth.
- To make salad: In large bowl, mix broccoli slaw, kale, grapes, red onion and figs; season with pepper, to taste, and drizzle with dressing; toss well to coat. Add avocado and toss lightly. Transfer to six serving plates or bowls and sprinkle with toasted oat topping.
Nutritional information per serving: 320 calories; 5 g protein; 29 g carbohydrates; 22 g fat (62% calories from fat); 3.5 g saturated fat (10% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 160 mg sodium; 7 g fiber.
(Family Features) Elevate summer desserts all season long with versatile, refreshing ingredients that can transform classics like ice cream into a new treat that’s bound to become a family favorite.
This Creamy Vegan California Grape Ice Cream offers a dairy-free alternative to traditional summer sweets and is powered by Grapes from California. Simply puree grapes, combine with oat coffee creamer and let your freezer do the work. The result is a perfect balance of cold, fruity goodness in a silky-smooth bite.
Crisp, juicy and sweet, grapes also provide flavor and texture in a wide range of recipes. As an easy, portable and healthy snack, grapes can also be frozen for a simple, standalone dessert ideal for summer occasions.
Find more ways to cool off in the heat by visiting GrapesFromCalifornia.com.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Creamy Vegan California Grape Ice Cream
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes, plus 6-8 hours freeze time
Servings: 8 (1/2 cup per serving)
- 1 pound stemmed black Grapes from California
- 12 ounces vanilla oat coffee creamer, well chilled
- 12 ounces unsweetened oat coffee creamer, well chilled
- In high-speed blender, puree grapes until smooth. Transfer to medium saucepan and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook 10-15 minutes, or until reduced to 1 cup. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.
- Stir creamer into pureed grapes and pour into stainless steel mixer bowl. Using stand mixer, mix well. Cover and freeze 6-8 hours or overnight.
Substitution: For lighter color, use 3/4 pound black grapes and 1/4 pound red.
Note: Make sure stainless steel bowl is well chilled or frozen before making ice cream.
Nutritional information per serving: 140 calories; 0 g protein; 22 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (39% calories from fat); 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 45 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
(Family Features) Your next snack or office lunch can get a boost of flavor from this Smashed Cucumber and Grape Salad, perfect for making ahead of time to pack along for whatever the day might bring your way.
As an easy, versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of recipes, grapes offer delicious taste, texture and color – plus a healthy boost – that make them an appealing addition to snacks and meals.
To find more good-for-you recipe inspiration, visit GrapesFromCalifornia.com.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Smashed Cucumber and Grape Salad
- 1 1/4 pounds English or Persian cucumbers, ends trimmed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons chili oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 cup halved Grapes from California
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- Using rolling pin, lightly smash whole cucumbers to break open. Tear or cut cucumbers into 1 1/2-inch pieces and season with salt. Transfer to sieve and drain 10 minutes.
- In large bowl, whisk vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, chili oil and sesame oil; stir in grapes and scallions.
- When cucumbers are done draining, add to bowl with grape mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 70 calories; 1 g protein; 11 g carbohydrates; 2.5 g fat (32% calories from fat); 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 170 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
(Family Features) The busy pace of back-to-school schedules can make it feel like nearly every aspect of life has you under a time crunch. Fortunately, when it comes to feeding the family, there are some simple foods you likely already have on hand that can provide easy solutions for snacks and mealtime alike.
A go-to fruit like California grapes is a fresh staple you can depend on because they are always ripe and ready to eat when you buy them. While grapes are indeed ideal for snacking because they hold, store and travel well, this healthy and delicious fruit is also a simple addition to meals throughout the day. Grapes require minimal preparation, so they’re equally easy as a side dish or as a fun way to deliver the fresh produce factor in a wide range of family-friendly recipes, such as these Grape and Ricotta Pita Pizzas.
Tips like these show how you can easily incorporate grapes into every meal:
Breakfast: A cup of creamy yogurt and crunchy granola takes on a sweet note when topped with a handful of grapes. Slice or quarter grapes then mix well for a medley of textures and flavors in every bite.
Morning snack: Pair grapes with cheese and crackers for a sweet and savory snack to keep your energy strong and your hunger in check until lunchtime.
Lunch: A handful of grapes can balance out a sandwich and add some sweet indulgence to the midday meal.
After school: Grapes offer hydration and quick energy so they’re the perfect way to fuel up for after school sports or to lend some extra brain power for study time.
Dinnertime rush: Use grapes for an easy side dish that goes with anything. A quick meal like grilled cheese and grapes brings out the kid in everyone.
Evening snack: Toward the end of the day, cravings can creep up but keeping a bowl of fresh grapes on hand for after dinner snacking helps avoid alternative salty, highly processed choices.
Find more great ideas for enjoying grapes throughout the day at grapesfromcalifornia.com.
Grape and Ricotta Pita Pizzas
- 2 whole-wheat pita pocket breads (about 6 inches in diameter)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, divided
- 1 cup seedless red or black California grapes, thinly sliced or halved
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 6 large or 12 small fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
- Heat oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Slice pita pockets in half so each forms two rounds, creating four rounds total. Place pita rounds on baking sheets cut-side up and brush top of each with oil.
- Spread 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese on each pita, leaving about 1/2-inch border around edges then arrange sliced grapes in single layer on top of cheese. Bake until edges are crisped and cheese is warmed, 5-7 minutes.
- In small bowl, stir together honey and lemon juice until honey is dissolved.
- When pizzas are done, drizzle each with about 1/2 teaspoon honey-lemon mixture. Sprinkle basil on top of pizzas. Serve immediately.