If you’re trying to take good care of your heart, a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is important. Five or more fruit and veg a day might seem like a tall order, but with a few tricks, it can actually be pretty simple – especially for a canny urban gardener. Homemade juices and smoothies can be a real help, and can even give you a boost if you’re wondering how to lower cholesterol too. Here’s a guide to making some really tasty options.
Sourcing ingredients is one of the most important stages. It’s best to use organic produce or fruit and vegetables grown locally – you’ll be surprised at how great they taste.
Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a cost-effective and easy way to have ingredients ready all year round. You can set up a plot in your own garden if you have the space, sign up for an allotment if not, or even take part in a communal gardening project. It’s very rewarding to grow your own food, and it’s a good workout too.
If you’re doing this somewhat spontaneously, you’ll be relieved to hear that there are other options. Try pick-your-own farms, your local greengrocers, or just pop to the shops as usual. No judgement here.
For juices, start simple by incorporating single items such as carrots and apples before moving on to more complex juices. Kale, leafy greens, berries and citrus fruits remain popular choices, and you can have fun playing around with some of your own concoctions. Try mint, ginger, or even chilli for a refreshing boost. If you’re in need of a little inspiration, you can head over to Juice Recipes for some great ideas.
Smoothies traditionally allow you to include a greater range of ingredients, and for those of us wondering how to lower cholesterol, there are some things that can be a real boon to the budding chef. Milk or yoghurt drinks with added plant sterols are a good idea, as are oats, which contain oat beta glucan*.
Purchasing a decent juicer or smoothie maker is key, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. You can find a great variety of models on the market which vary in price, but the good news is that there is one to suit every budget. It would be wise to read some reviews online first to find one that suits your needs. For something a little different, how about incorporating a slush machine? Turn your juices into slushies by adding ice and water to make the perfect summer cooler drink.
Get everyone involved
Juicing can take up quite a lot of time once you’ve sourced, washed, and chopped your ingredients. That’s why it’s a great idea to get everyone involved. Make it a family affair and have friends over to try out new recipes. Either way, getting in the habit of juicing is a great way to make use of fruit and vegetables, educate others on how to lower cholesterol, and gain a healthy new hobby!
*Little known fact: both plant sterols and oat beta glucan can help to lower cholesterol levels, if the correct daily amount (2 and 3 grams, respectively) is eaten as part of a healthy and balanced diet overall. Bear in mind that cholesterol isn’t the only risk factor for heart disease, so if you’re trying to take care of your heart, we’d advise covering the others too.