We’ve created a nutrient-packed and delicious heart-healthy smoothie in honor of Heart Healthy Month at Club Fit! You can order one in the café or use the recipe below to make and enjoy at home.
• ¾ cup of cranberries
• 1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
• ¼ cup chopped raw walnuts
• 1 tbsp maple syrup, honey, or other sweetener (optional)
• 1 cup almond milk
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
• ice cubes (optional, if you prefer your smoothie more chilled)
1. Blend all ingredients until desired consistency is reached.
Cranberries: According to the American Heart Association, the micronutrients found in cranberries accelerate the condition of the digestive system and antioxidant system while also boosting positive heart health, potentially decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol as well.
Apples: According to Medical News Today, apples contain high levels of important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples could potentially lower the probability of developing cancer, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
Walnuts: According to an article published by WebMD, a researcher stated that walnuts are the #1 nut for heart health because a study conducted showed that they contain a higher amount and better quality of antioxidants than other nuts. Nuts can help decrease cholesterol, lessen the amount of oxidative stress caused by free radicals (due to their antioxidant content), and reduce inflammation.
Honey: According to Healthline, honey contains a variety of essential antioxidants such as phenolic compounds including flavonoids. Two experiments found that buckwheat honey raised the amount of antioxidants in the blood, which are associated with a decreased probability of heart attacks, strokes, and certain forms of cancer.
Almond Milk: According to Medical News Today, almond milk is high in Vitamin E, which shields fats from oxidation, lessening the amount of oxidized LDL cholesterol, which is known to increase the risk for developing heart disease. Additionally, 50% of the calories in almond milk stem from fat, and oleic acid, the main fatty acid in almond oil, have been associated with lowering levels of LDL cholesterol and increasing levels of HDL cholesterol.
Cinnamon: According to WebMD, cinnamon has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants out of all the spices. Additionally, studies have shown that taking cinnamon as a supplement can help reduce total cholesterol levels, which help decrease the risk for developing heart disease.
Protein Powder: According to Health Line, one study showed that consistently consuming whey protein daily was positively associated with a decrease in LDL cholesterol. Additionally, glutathione, a natural antioxidant produced by the body, requires a high abundance of amino acids, including cysteine, which at times is not available in sufficient quantities. Since whey protein is high in protein, it may increase the body’s ability to produce antioxidants and decrease oxidative stress. Finally, research has demonstrated that the intake of dairy is associated with decreased blood pressure due to lactokinins, an ACE inhibitor found in whey protein.