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Secret Ingredients for a Healthy Spring

 

woman eating salad

Secret Stroke-Preventer

Fast forward to warmer months and healthier fare with a salad of ripe tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, says Connie Guttersen, R.D., Ph.D., registered dietitian and nutrition instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley and author of The New Sonoma Diet. "The oil not only brings out the flavor," she says, "but also helps your body absorb more of the disease-preventing lycopenes in tomatoes." Lycopenes are the secret ingredient that can help you keep your heart in shape for the summer ahead. In fact, a 2010 Japanese study of 264 women found that women with the highest levels of lycopene—an antioxidant that gives tomatoes and other vegetables their color—had the least stiffness in their arteries. Artery stiffness is a warning sign of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which can cause heart attacks or strokes—diseases that are striking just as many women as men these days.

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