When we hear the words "healthy eating," we immediately match up certain foods with different parts of our bodies: milk and soy for strong bones; Brussels sprouts and bok choy for the lungs; ginger for the stomach; even egg yolks and yellow corn for the eyes.
But what about our hearts? Surely there's a special menu for that, right?
February is National Heart Health month, and across the country, experts are reminding us how important it is to keep our tickers ticking strong. Every year, more than 600,000 people in the U.S. die from heart disease -- that's 1 out of every 4 deaths, for both men and women. This is why doctors encourage us to find -- and eat -- foods that not only keep our cardiovascular system pumping strong, but protect the heart muscle itself.
We asked our special panel of experts to give us the inside scoop on which foods we should take to heart (literally!), and you might be surprised at some of their suggestions. For instance, did you know that kidney beans and chick peas have a special blend of ingredients that your heart just loves? Can you guess which common fruit is excellent at preventing heart tissue scarring? And, of course, what about that one dish that's not exactly a favorite among midnight snackers, but is a runaway champ when it comes to keeping your health healthy? (Hint: it's in the fish family.)
Rather than spoil the surprise, take a look for yourself -- then start planning this week's menus. As the old song goes, "You Gotta Have Heart" ... to which I add: "so take good care of it!"