Properly caring for your heart year-round can benefit your entire body. And the fall is the perfect time to try new, nutritious things, especially where your heart health is concerned.
Plus, there are plenty of healthy options available for favorite fall treats, including recipes that contain the various flavors of the season, like pumpkin, apples and cinnamon.
Foods to watch out for when protecting your heart
While you can choose from plenty of heart-healthy foods to add to beverages for nutritious and delicious fall drinks, you should also stay away from some ingredients that over time can cause heart disease.
- High amounts of trans and saturated fat
- High levels of sodium
- Large amounts of sugar
- Processed foods
Recipes for fall-themed drinks that are good for your heart
Pumpkin pie smoothie
Pumpkin is high in potassium and low in calories, which is great for your heart health and can even help prevent heart disease and high blood pressure.
This pumpkin pie smoothie is a great breakfast option before or after a workout and contains a banana, which is another food high in potassium.
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 plain whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/3 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
Put ingredients into a blender and blend until the mixture becomes smooth. Add an additional teaspoon of maple syrup if desired.
Healthy hot maple-apple cider
A trip to the cider mill or apple orchard is a great fall activity, with cider being a perfect fall beverage that nearly everyone can enjoy. This healthy maple-apple cider recipe features organic apples and cinnamon that help lower your cholesterol levels.
- 1 3/4 pound organic sweet apples
- 2 tablespoons all-natural organic maple syrup
- 1 cinnamon stick
Thoroughly wash apples and cut them up into wedges, removing the cores and seeds. Put the wedges, syrup and cinnamon stick in a pot. Pour water to cover the apples by one-inch. Place a cover partially over the pot and let sit and simmer for approximately two hours, stirring occasionally.
Once the apples have broken down, pour through a sieve and let cool. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator once the cider has cooled down.
Classic hot chocolate
Hot chocolate is an easy drink to whip up on a colder fall afternoon. While on the sweeter side, dark chocolate is great for heart health, specifically because of its antioxidants that fight diseases, such as heart disease. Therefore, simply swapping out milk chocolate for dark chocolate can turn hot chocolate into a heart-healthy beverage option.
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 4 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Heat milk on the stovetop in a medium saucepan on low to medium heat. Once steaming, add cocoa, sugar and chocolate chips. Stir on low until combined and the cocoa has reached a desired temperature. Stir in vanilla. Pour into mugs and add optional toppings such as whipped cream, dark chocolate shavings or a cinnamon stick.
Learn about the heart and vascular services we offer at Mercy Health.