Brookwood Baptist Health Blog

Stories and tips for a healthy lifestyle

Brookwood Dietitian Shares Heart Healthy Tips

Feb 12, 2020

Steps to Improving Your Heart Health Naturally

Content submitted by Jennifer Harrell, who has worked as a dietitian at Brookwood Baptist for 11 years and has been a dietitian for 25 years.

-jennifer-300x300-our-stories It’s no secret that improving heart health relies heavily on how we live. It’s been said that you cannot outrun your fork! Changing one’s lifestyle has been proven to:

  • Reduce heart disease risk factors
  • Reverse the progression of coronary artery disease
  • Reduce blood clots that may cause a heart attack

What can you REALLY do though? Nutritionally there are a variety of things one can do – but for now let’s focus on berries! Why? Berries are among the healthiest foods you can eat. PLUS they are DELICIOUS!!

  • Berries are loaded with antioxidants which help protect our cells! Studies show that blueberries, blackberries and raspberries have very high antioxidant activity and that berries may help reduce oxidative stress.
  • Berries are a good source of fiber. Fiber has been shown to help reduce overall cholesterol level. Fiber may also increase feelings of fullness and reduce appetite resulting in less mindless snacking or over eating.
  • Berries are low in calories but rich in several vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Manganese, and Vitamin K.
  • Although research is limited, ellagic acid may be responsible for some of the skin-related benefits of berries. Berries may help reduce wrinkling due to the antioxidants protecting collagen – which gives skin its firmness.
  • Several antioxidants in berries such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol may reduce cancer risk.
  • Oxidative stress can cause damage to the cells that line the inside of blood vessels. Berries have been found to improve and protect these cells and actually show significant improvement in the cell function!
  • Studies have shown that eating strawberries and blueberries may lower the risk for heart attack and reduce blood cholesterol, triglycerides and oxidative stress.
  • Bilberries may also increase HDL cholesterol (good) and reduce LDL cholesterol (bad).
  • Cranberries and cranberry juice have shown to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, oxidative stress and “stiffness” of the arteries.

So next time you are looking for a little something healthy, but sweet, to nibble on – consider berries! Here’s a recipe (from Taste of Home) that Jennifer took and made a few edits to that she recommends for you to try!


Servings: 2 Prep Time/ Total Time: under 30 minutes

Don’t forget to make your shopping list!


½ cup strawberries
½ cup raspberries
1 banana, sliced
½ cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup almond or soy milk
¼ cup peanut butter


Add berries, banana, yogurt, milk and peanut butter to a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into a bowl.

Top with favorite toppings if desired (sliced strawberry, slivered almond, shredded coconut, sunflower seed, chia seed)

Prepare Together

  • Add fruit, yogurt milk and peanut butter to a blender.
  • Pour into a bowl.
  • Assist with toppings.

Original Recipe found on