What’s even better than a sweet, delicious dessert? A sweet delicious dessert that’s good for your heart! Heart Healthy Fruit Crisp is a great way to make your heart and taste buds happy at the same time. This dessert has all sorts of great things going for it. In fact, I made sure that every ingredient that goes into this yummy treat has heart-healthy properties…it was a fun challenge, and the result was so delicious that you’d never know how good for you it really is.
First of all, antioxidants from the berries in this fruit crisp are good for your heart. Blue and purple berries are a great source of antioxidants, so I made sure that plenty of blueberries and blackberries went into the recipe. It’s fine to use frozen berries if fresh are not in season. Antioxidants have many benefits, and heart health is one of them. It’s better for your body to get antioxidants from natural sources than from supplements, so a serving of dark berries is as healthy as it is delicious.
Because blueberries and blackberries can be expensive, I also added some organic chopped apples. Studies show that people who regularly eat apples have a lower chance of dying from heart disease…probably from the antioxidants and high fiber found in this delicious fruit.
In addition to antioxidants, this dessert is a great way to get to know chia seed. These tiny little seeds are packed with omega 3 acids, which are excellent for your heart. Chia seed is even better for you than flax seed! It reduces C-reactive protein, and raises your HDL (good cholesterol) while lowering your LDL (bad cholesterol). The little seeds, which look a lot like poppy seeds, expand and form a gel-like substance when they get wet…this has several benefits for your digestion, and it’s also a great way to keep baked goods moist while using less fat. On a side note, yes…chia seed is actually related to that ever popular TV toy, the Chia Pet. When sprouted, chia seeds produce the green curly “hair” that tops those novelty terracotta heads. Who knew that they were also good to eat?
Another great ingredient in this fruit crisp is the oatmeal. Oatmeal has long been known to fight heart disease by lowering your LDL cholesterol level. It’s also very high in fiber, which helps you feel full faster and stay full longer. This recipe calls for both oatmeal (we use gluten free at our house) and oat flour, which can be made easily by running some oats through the food processor.
Coconut oil has so many great, healthy benefits! It’s one of the “good fats” to cook with, and it has many other properties that make it an excellent ingredient in healthy baking. If you’re interested in learning more about coconut oil (including what to look for when purchasing it) here’s a great article on the topic.
Rather than sweeten this treat with sugar, I chose to use a little organic honey. Did you know that honey is good for your heart? Honey actually contains more antioxidants that many fruits and vegetables, and in test-tube studies it slowed the oxidation of bad cholesterol into the blood. The darker the honey, the greater the benefit…so keep this in mind when you’re at the supermarket.
Last but not least, I should add that there’s quite a bit of cinnamon in this recipe. Cinnamon lowers bad cholesterol, has an anti-clotting effect on your blood, and stabilizes blood sugar (plus, it tastes so good with oatmeal and honey).
Ok, so now I’ve pitched the health benefits of Heat Healthy Fruit Crisp. It’s designed to be good for you, but how does it taste? it’s time to forget about the amazing chemical properties of all the ingredients and enjoy the deliciousness of how they work together in this dessert! The berries and apples are sweet-tart and bursting with flavor, and the topping is crunchy and delicious. The chia seed helps thicken the fruit without adding empty calories or carbs, and the oat flour is hearty and flavorful mixed with honey and cinnamon. On a cautionary note, gaining five pounds would not be good for your heart, so eating this three times a day for a week is ill-advised. However, it’s awfully nice to enjoy a dessert that’s custom-designed to actually be good for you. And, just in case it comes up at your house too, it makes it much easier to justify eating it for breakfast the next morning.
Now, if we could just come up with a heart healthy version of the vanilla bean ice cream that goes so well with this!
- 2 cups organic blueberries
- 2 cups organic blackberries
- 3 organic apples, peeled and diced
- 3 Tablespoons organic black chia seed
- 3 Tablespoons organic honey (dark buckwheat honey is highest in antioxidants)
- 1½ cups organic oat flour (make your own by pulsing oats in a food processor...use gluten free if you're sensitive)
- 1 cup organic rolled oats
- 3 teaspoons ground organic cinnamon
- 3 Tablespoons organic extra virgin coconut oil (where to buy)
- 2 Tablespoons organic honey
- Preheat the oven to 35o degrees
- In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the fruit part of the dessert and stir well. Set them aside and let them sit while you make the topping.
- In a separate bowl, cut the oat flour, oats, and cinnamon together with the coconut oil. Drizzle the honey over the mixture and mix it in well.
- Pour the fruit mixture into a 9x15 inch baking dish, and then drop the crumbled topping mixture on top of the fruit. Cover the crisp with foil and bake for ½ hour, then remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes.
- Allow the crisp to cool for 5 minutes or so, then serve
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Do you have a favorite heart-healthy recipe?