Strawberry Almond Bars

by Carolina Jantac, MS, RD, LD
Yum

Strawberries are our hearts’ best friends! They are red, and somewhat heart-shaped. Often, they are covered with chocolate and given as gifts to those whom we love. Some may even identify strawberries as the ultimate fruit of romance. Lucky for us, strawberries really do have health benefits particularly when it comes to our heart health. We were happy to add them to our Strawberry Almond Bars Recipe.

Berries are a good source of polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, micronutrients, and fiber. In clinical trials, consumption of pure anthocyanin extracts demonstrated significant improvements in LDL oxidation, lipid peroxidation, total plasma antioxidant capacity, dyslipidemia, and glucose metabolism. Even more encouraging, the benefits were alike for those with existing metabolic risk factors, as well as for healthy subjects. This evidence continues to solidify the inclusion of berries in a heart-healthy diet.

Do you know what else belongs in a heart healthy diet? Almonds! They contain a range of beneficial nutrients including vitamin E, fiber and healthy fats that increase the sense of fullness contributing to satiety, something that also explains their power in weight management health plans. Almonds are also rich in flavonoids and may have antioxidant properties. Studies show that those consuming two portions of almonds weekly see improved blood flow and lower blood pressure, potentially reducing their risk for heart disease.

Is there a benefit in eating two super foods such as strawberries and almonds together? Indeed, there is! When you combine powerful nutrients, there is reason to believe they act together to intensify the benefits they would offer standing alone. The combination of all these nutrients working together to create overall health benefits rather than just one nutrient in isolation inspires me to create recipes combining superfood ingredients to maximize your results!

You’ll fall in love with these Strawberry Almond Bars with your first bite. They look quite exquisite when displayed on a platter for a party for example, and no one needs to know it only took you minutes to prepare them and fewer ingredients than you may think necessary. They are made with the natural sugar present in fruits, maple syrup and no added refined sugar. I also chose to use flaxseeds, rolled oats and chia seeds to increase their omega fatty acid, fiber and vitamin content. Not strawberry season right now? No worries, the recipe works perfectly with fresh—or frozen strawberries.

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