Five Ways Eating Red Can Heal Your Heart

The Physicians Committee

Five Ways Eating Red Can Heal Your Heart


Are you going red today? Since 2002, National Wear Red Day has aimed to raise awareness of the fact that heart disease is the top killer of American women.

Raising awareness is critically important. Cardiovascular disease is now responsible for 1 in every 3 American deaths. Time is ticking, and every minute that passes, another American dies from heart disease.

While it’s essential to recognize the signs and symptoms, it’s also crucial that we understand why they appear in the first place: years of damage caused, in large part, by a Western diet high in fat, animal products, and processed foods. We know now that heart attacks—once believed a normal part of the aging process—can be prevented with a healthy diet and lifestyle 80 percent of the time.

People who follow plant-based diets have the lowest rates of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels.  

reverse-coronary-diseaseAnd plant-based diets can do more than just prevent heart disease. Studies by Dean Ornish, M.D., and Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., show that low-fat plant-based diets can actually reopen blocked arteries and reverse even severe cases of heart disease.

One simple way to start? As we pull out our red t-shirts and ribbons this week, let’s add some red plant-based foods to our plates.

These five red foods can help ward off heart disease:

  1. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are packed with potassium, which is a mineral that helps to balance blood flow and lower blood pressure. Diets rich in potassium can lower the risk of stroke by 12 percent. An easy way to get a serving of tomatoes? Try our powered-up pasta.
  2. Raspberries: Berries contain anthocyanins, which are colorful pigments that protect our cells, including those that support cardiovascular health. Daily fruit consumption may decrease the risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent. Add berries to your oatmeal or even on top of your vegetables with our steamed asparagus with raspberry sauce.
  3. Red Lentils: Lentils are packed with cholesterol-lowering fiber. One study found that heart attack survivors who added fiber to their diet lowered their risk of a recurrence by 35 percent. Try our lentil artichoke stew!
  4. Red Chard: Red chard, like other greens, is packed with vitamins and antioxidants that can protect the cardiovascular system. Add chard to soup or try this chard salad!
  5. Red Quinoa: Whole grains, like quinoa, may have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease. One major meta-analysis found that those who consume the most whole grains have the lowest risk for heart disease. Try our quinoa pilaf!