Each year, we celebrate American Heart Month in February to help bring awareness to the leading cause of death in both men and women- heart disease. The American Heart Association dedicates a whole month to heart health in hopes of improving people’s overall health by motivating them to adopt healthy lifestyle changes and incorporate more heart healthy foods.
The recommendations for maintaining a heart healthy diet are-
- Eat a diet rich in heart healthy foods— fruits and veggies full of nutrients and fiber
- Choose whole grains- high in fiber and antioxidants
- Limit saturated fat
- Reduce high sodium foods
- Limit smoking and alcohol consumption
- Stay active!
While certain risk factors, like age and genetics, cannot be modified, our diets-which can greatly affect our risk of heart disease- can 100% be changed! Consuming foods rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins & minerals, like California Dried Figs, can play a huge role in decreasing our risk for heart disease and other food related illnesses.
California Dried Figs: Nutrition Powerhouse
Dried figs are a sweet-tasting nutrition powerhouse that can be beneficial to our health when consumed regularly. One serving of California Dried Figs provides us with-
- Fiber– maintains bowel help and keeps you regular, while maintaining stable blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol
- Magnesium– helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes normal blood pressure, helping to manage disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes
- Potassium– essential for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs. It helps regulate the metabolism and keeps the heart and kidneys running smoothly
- Iron– essential for the transport of oxygen from the lungs tobody tissues to maintain basic life functions
- Antioxidants– figs are rich in antioxidants which can help combat oxidative stress
Dried figs are the perfect snack to incorporate into your diet for their nutritional benefits, but especially for their delectable sweet taste. Since it is national heart month, we decided to get a little fancy with our fig intake and created a No Bake Vegan Cheesecake with Dried Fig Crust to combine the delightful California dried figs with ingredients from a heart healthy foods list.
Let’s dive into the heart healthy foods / ingredients—
Heart Healthy Foods List
Dried figs: figs are a powerhouse of nutrients, providing us with fiber, potassium, iron and calcium
Old fashioned rolled oats: oats are a great source of whole grains and fiber, including beta glucan. Beta glucan helps increase the viscosity of foods you eat, slowing down the absorption of fats and cholesterol, lowering total cholesterol in the body-, especially LDL (bad) cholesterol, and may thus decrease your risk of heart disease 
Nuts: Nuts provide key proteins and nutrients, good-for-you unsaturated fats, and antioxidants such as polyphenols, which help fight against oxidative stress in our bodies
Berries: berries are among the highest antioxidant rich fruits, which in addition to protecting your cells, can help reduce disease risk by fighting off free radicals (unstable molecules that may lead to oxidative stress in high amounts)
Dark Chocolate: cocoa is filled with minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and zinc, and one of the richest sources of polyphenols, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
Combine all of these nutrient dense, good-for-you ingredients for a No-Bake Vegan Cheesecake with Fig Crust. It’s a heart healthy dessert recipe to enjoy right in time for heart month!