When you think of February, you probably think of hearts. True, the month does host one of the most heart-filled holidays around — looking at you Valentine’s Day — but it’s also American Heart Month.
Our hearts work hard. The average heart beats about 115 thousand times each day and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood. It’s a crucial organ for survival, and yet 1 in 4 deaths in the United States each year is caused by heart disease.
It’s time to take better care of our hearts, and onions are a great way to start!
Help Out Your Heart with Fresh Vegetables
Heart disease is bad news. The good news is that it can often be prevented. Along with exercise, your diet is key to heart health.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is a great place to start. The American Heart Association recommends filling at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at mealtimes to help achieve 4 to 5 servings of both food groups each day.
Onions are one of the most flavorful vegetables, but they also offer powerful health benefits, especially for the heart.
The same organosulfur compounds that are responsible for the taste and smell of onions have anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effects. That means they can reduce the risk of blood clots, which are often associated with heart disease. Onions also decrease triglycerides and reduce cholesterol levels.
Quercetin, a flavonoid, is found in all varieties of onions. It works to remove free radicals in the body that could otherwise cause damage to cell membranes. The National Onion Association reports that quercetin’s antioxidant activities help protect against heart disease as well as several types of cancer.
This nutrient dense vegetable is also a good source of potassium, which is essential for proper heart function. If you think you’re getting enough potassium in your diet, think again. Most Americans are only consuming half of the recommended daily value.
Onions are loaded with Vitamin C, are a great source of fiber, and are the perfect low calorie option. One cup of onion contains just 64 calories.
Fresh produce like Gills Whole Peeled and Fresh Cut Onions are typically better for your heart than canned, dried, or frozen options, which can contain added sodium and sugars.
Boost Heart Health with Onions
You’ve probably heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but as you can see, an onion a day can easily do the same. And it’s easy to incorporate onions into your diet. Here are a few ideas:
- Add chopped onions into homemade salsa or guacamole
- Combine onions with garlic and your favorite broth as a base for soups and chilis
- Carmelize onions and place them on top of meat or tofu or add to savory baked goods
- Add onions to your favorite rice, stir-fry, or fajita dishes
- Puree or blend onions into sauces or salad dressings
- Boost your breakfast with onion in your egg dishes or with avocado on toast
Click here for more delicious onion recipes from Gills Onions.
A Healthy Heart Starts Here
American Heart Month is all about sharing and starting heart health habits. Even the smallest changes can make a difference. Instead of seasoning food with salt, try adding spices or flavorful veggies instead. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or set up an appointment with your doctor to check and see how your heart is doing.
As we work together to raise awareness and embrace healthier lifestyles, we can all enjoy happier and stronger hearts.
Ready to try onions grown “The Gill Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more.