• Yemila Lowry, RDN, LDN

Heart Healthy Picks at Pita Pit


February... the month of romance and chocolate. But, DYK February is also considered American Heart Month? And although a majority of students aren't second-guessing their heart health, I have had a couple of friends who have had heart attacks - All under the age of 30. They had no history of heart disease, no medical issues, no signs pointing to heart failure. Pretty scary stuff. Thus, as your nutrition expert, let me enlighten you on what foods can help make your heart happy and promote a great ticker.


The first step towards being #HeartSmart is having a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, legumes, beans, nuts, and healthy fats. These are considered nutrient-dense foods because they have the least amount of calories yet packed with minerals and vitamins compared to your overly processed, high fatty foods and empty calories. One important thing to note is that you should also be avoiding or at least limiting the amount of trans fat and saturated fat that you're consuming daily.


At Pita Pit, you can easily find these #HeartHealthy foods! Start by ordering with a whole grain pita. There's two sizes to choose from, small or large. You can always order the large but make sure to eat half now and save the rest as leftovers to reduce food waste and to ensure you're not overeating.


Next, load up that pita with veggies! There's so many to choose from but my favorite #HeartHealthy picks are black olives, avocado spread, tomatoes, and spinach. Olives and avocados are rich in healthy fats, fiber and have been proven to lower bad cholesterol. Tomatoes have an antioxidant called lycopene that has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and spinach is a powerhouse superfood!


Finally, choose a lean protein like grilled chicken or black beans, then finish it off with more avocado spread, hummus, or a vinaigrette (olive oil is rich in Omega-3's).

Eating right and consuming healthy meals is a great way to optimize your overall wellness. What does that mean? This includes increasing your awareness and alertness, helping retain memories, enhancing your focus, improving your mood, and boosting your overall brain development.


I found that Pita Pit has an abundance of FRESH ingredients that can be put together to make a well-balanced meal, perfect for fueling any Osprey.


Make sure to #LoveYourHeart and feed the ole ticker with good nutrition.♥️♥️


Stay Healthy, Ospreys!


Additional Resources:

1. Heart Health Tips: How to Manage and Prevent Heart Conditions

James Beckerman - https://www.webmd.com/heart/heart-health-tips#1

2. Heart Health

Harvard Health Publishing - https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/heart-health

3. The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/aha-diet-and-lifestyle-recommendations

4. Love Your Heart Love Your Food

Esther Ellis - https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/heart-and-cardiovascular-health/love-your-heart-love-your-food


UNF Dining Services' Dietitian

Email Yemila: y.lowry@unf.edu

Bldg 8/1210-J

1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224