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Nutrition

Quick Dose: When Is the Best Time to Buy Heart-Healthy Summer Produce?

You’re never too young to start paying attention to your heart health, and one way to reduce your chance for heart disease, heart attack and stroke is by eating foods with nutrients that are particularly good for your heart.

Here is the best time of year to stock up on your favorite heart-healthy produce:

  • Raspberries. These early summer berries are loaded with polyphenols, which help repair damage-causing free radicals in your body.
  • Strawberries. These sweet treats, best from late May through June, can reduce the risk of heart attacks, thanks to their anthocyanin content.
  • Blueberries. These are considered a superfood because they’re packed with resveratrol and flavonoids, which help prevent coronary disease. Stock up between June and late August.
  • Asparagus. May through June is the best time to look for this powerful vegetable. In addition to reducing inflammation, asparagus can protect against certain types of cancer and give your brain an added boost.
  • Tomatoes. A staple that’s best in the latter half of summer, tomatoes are rich with fiber and potassium, which is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Tomatoes are also rich in carotenoids, which reduces the risk for heart disease.
  • Kale. These leafy greens pack a punch when it comes to nutrients. In addition to a host of vitamins, kale has heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation. These greens are best when the temperatures start to drop. Baby kale is delicious in the early part of the growing season, while more mature kale is best after cooler weather.

Find a farmers’ market near you whether you’re in Chicago or the suburbs. You can also visit Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute for more information on heart health, and heart disease prevention and treatment.

– Jo Cessna, certified nutrition expert