Video: Heart-healthy shopping at your local farmers market

Michigan ranks fourth in the nation in the number of markets

Now is the right time to visit your local farmers market for fresh, delicious produce.

Michigan ranks fourth in the nation in the number of farmers markets, so If there isn’t one in your community, you’re sure to find one in a nearby city or town.

University of Michigan Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sarah Meyers points to just a few of the benefits of shopping at a farmers market:

  • Fresh, local, heart-healthy fruits and vegetables are readily available. Choose from apples, broccoli, squash and kale, just to name a few.
  • Making friends with your area farmers gives you opportunities to learn about how your food is grown. Farmers can also teach you how to pick and prepare the tastiest produce.
  • By shopping at your local market, you’re helping the environment by reducing shipping and processing costs.
  • Produce is often less expensive than store-bought versions, so you’ll save money.
  • What you spend at your farmers market goes directly to the farmers, so it stays in the community.

Shopping at your local farmers market is a win-win for everyone: You get fresh, tasty local produce, the environment benefits and the local economy grows.

Take the next step:

Frankel-informal-vertical-sigThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at

Living with an LVAD

Scott Reid, 28, finds life with an LVAD is pretty full

Scott Reid and son blog

U-M LVAD patient Scott Reid, along with son Landon and girlfriend Abbie, is “happy to be alive.”

Scott Reid was healthy his entire life. A high school football player and swimmer, he was busy enjoying his 20s and looking forward to what the future might hold. Little did he know he would soon be living with an LVAD (left ventricular assist device).

At age 24, Scott’s health began to change. Feeling tired and rundown, he initially thought he had pneumonia. “I couldn’t make it up six steps,” he recalls. But the diagnosis was not pneumonia. “It was advanced heart failure,” says Scott, still surprised by the diagnosis three years later.

Air lifted from his hometown hospital to the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, Scott spent more than two weeks in intensive care as doctors worked to determine the cause of his condition. Finally diagnosed as a viral attack on his heart, Scott was released from the hospital with medication. Continue reading

Try this healthy gazpacho recipe for a refreshing taste of summer


Enjoy summer-fresh flavors in this healthy, refreshing gazpacho.

Looking for something easy and delicious to take to your next BBQ or picnic? Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sue Ryskamp recommends gazpacho for a refreshing taste of summer. This gazpacho recipe was a hit when she served it at a recent U-M Mardigian Wellness Resource Center “Nutritious Is Delicious” food-tasting event.

Simple summer gazpacho

Serves 4


  • 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4-cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups No Salt Added tomato juice
  • 1/8 tsp pepper


Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. Whirl until just blended. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. To serve, ladle gazpacho into bowls.

Feel free to jazz it up with toppers such as fresh grilled shrimp, a dollop of Greek yogurt, sliced avocado or diced cucumber to add extra color and texture to this fun treat you’ll want to serve again and again!

Frankel-informal-vertical-sigThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at

Five key heart health screenings

Tests to help determine your risk for cardiovascular disease

heart blogAre you at risk for heart disease? The best way to find out is through cardiovascular screening tests. The American Heart Association recommends the following key cardiovascular health screenings:

1. Blood pressure 

Blood pressure is one of the most important screenings because high blood pressure usually has no symptoms so it can’t be detected without being measured. High blood pressure greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. If your blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg, be sure to get it checked at least once every two years, starting at age 20. If your blood pressure is higher, your doctor may want to check it more often. High blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes or medication. After age 65, women have a higher risk of high blood pressure than men, and African-American adults of all ages have a higher-than-average risk. Continue reading

Fresh, summer produce makes healthy eating a snap

We’ve waited long enough for these summertime delights!

blueberries blogMichigan farmers markets and roadside stands are open, offering fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables. Right now is the best time to get the following healthy, locally grown summer produce:

  • Basil comes a variety of flavors, including Sweet Genovese, cinnamon, lemon, opal and Thai basil. A small portion of basil (2 chopped tablespoons) has trace amounts of many minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, potassium, folate and Vitamins A and K.
  • Blackberries and blueberries are in season July through August. Enjoy these sweet, ripe, juicy local berries — one of the great treats of summer. Added benefit: They’re naturally low in calories and high in nutrients.
  • Butter lettuce Soft and tender, butter lettuce (also called Boston or Bibb) contains plenty of Vitamin K – along with C and A. Vitamin K in particular promotes good bone health. Lettuce, in general, is also full of folates, a water-soluble version of Vitamin B that helps boost the body’s ability to produce cells.
  • Fresh, sweet corn is in season mid June through August. Besides being a delicious addition to any meal, it is also rich in phytochemicals. According to researchers, corn oil has been shown to have an anti-atherogenic effect on cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of various cardiovascular diseases.
  • Sweet cherries are in season from late spring through early summer. They’re high in fiber and potassium and low in calories: one cup of cherries is about 100 calories. Cherries are full of anthocyanins, a type of phytochemical believed to be high in antioxidant activity.
  • Fresh peas such as sugar snap peas, snow peas and green peas are at their peak from April through July. As part of the legume family, peas are low in fat and high in fiber and are a good source of plant protein.
  • Flavorful and low in calories, radishes offer a distinctive flavor and are a good source of vitamin C. Choose radishes that are deep in color with solid roots for the best flavor.
  • Apricots pack beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C and fiber and are a low-calorie choice to satisfy your sweet tooth. Apricots are in peak season from May to August. Grilling apricots brings out their sweetness.
  • Technically a vegetable, rhubarb is often used as a fruit in pies and jams. In season from April through July, rhubarb stalks area good source of vitamin C, potassium and manganese.

Continue reading

Discover the health benefits of fresh herbs

Mint infusion: you'll love the flavors

herbs blogIn our ongoing series about ways to enjoy the flavors of fresh herbs, today we’re featuring mint.

As the temperatures start to climb this summer, you might find yourself reaching for an extra beverage throughout the day. Water is one of the best ways to hydrate but if a burst of mouth-tingling flavor would add to the appeal of water, think about using fresh mint.

Mint used alone or in combination with other herbs, sliced fruits or vegetables can boost your enjoyment of water and reduce your sugar intake. If you’re looking for inspiration, try this mint infusion that can be served hot or cold.

  • Start with a handful of clean, fresh mint leaves, tear them up and place in the bottom of a teapot or French press.
  • Cover the leaves with 2 cups of boiling water and let this steep for 3-7 minutes.

Since mint comes in at least 30 varieties, you could “experi-mint” with flavors such as spearmint, pineapple mint or chocolate mint. The pleasing flavors of orange, ginger or cucumber slices combined with mint create several cool, fresh drink choices. Continue reading