‘B’ good to your heart
By Katie Wilhelmi RD, LD
There’s more to lowering your risk of heart disease than just watching the fat in your diet. There are many good-for-you foods that provide nutrients that may decrease your chance of having a heart attack. Many B vitamins have a role in maintaining a healthy heart.
These three B vitamins – vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid – may help keep homocysteine levels low in your blood. If homocysteine levels are too high, blood can clot easier, which increases the chance of a heart attack or stroke occurring.
In general, B vitamins can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy green vegetables, whole grains, dried peas and beans, lean meat, seafood and low-fat dairy.
Follow these general guidelines to get adequate B vitamins in your diet:
Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day.
For folic acid, eat dark leafy green vegetables at least three to four times each week and drink orange juice often. An easy way to get leafy greens is the bagged salad blend with baby spinach.
Choose whole grains. Your goal should be at least three servings of whole grains each day.
Find ways to eat more dried beans and peas. For convenience, use canned beans and rinse with water to decrease the sodium.
“Lean” on beef, pork, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products for B12. The only food source of vitamin B12 is found in animal products.
Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.