Heart disease is America’s number one killer. There are many associated diseases and risk factors that can lead to heart failure, including hypertension (causing heart attacks), coronary heart disease, obesity, and diabetes (or insulin resistance). One way to avoid these ailments is to make sure you eat a heart healthy diet.
- Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon – A single serving of salmon is high in fatty acids, with 1.4 g omega-3s in a 3 oz serving. It also has 21 g of protein, 223 mg of phosphorus. Broiling is an excellent way to cook salmon as it locks in the salmon’s fatty acids, and doesn’t add additional fat. This dish is characterized by the sweet, salty, and tangy mixture of rice vinegar, soy sauce, and honey, all of which serve as both marinade and sauce. For a nutty and more attractive accent, add some toasted sesame seeds. To make this recipe a meal, serve it with sautéed red peppers, zucchini slices, and brown rice.
- Chicken And Vegetable Dumplings – the conventional chicken and dumpling recipe can be revised by using whole-wheat flour and add more vegetables, such as snow peas and mushrooms, to make the filling richer. Choose skinless, boneless chicken breasts to make the recipe even lighter in fat and cholesterol: the skin of a chicken acts as a latex glove, holding all the fat in. Approximately 45-75% of the fat in chicken is from its skin. In general, chicken is one of the healthiest meats you can cook with, and this is just one of many healthy chicken recipes to add variety to your diet.
- Red Kidney Bean Salad – Drain two cans of dark red kidney beans, and let marinate in the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon and a splash of olive oil. While this is marinating, fry up two cloves of pressed garlic. Fry 1 cup of diced white bread with garlic until golden brown. Add to a salad bowel, 25 g of marinated tofu, 1 romaine lettuce, washed and ripped into bite-size leaves, 2 ripe avocados, cut into 1 inch cubes, a handful of chopped parsley, 3 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped into ½ inch cubes. Add the kidney beans, the croutons, to the rest of the salad. Flavor with salt and pepper.
What Makes Them So Healthy?
A heart-healthy diet should emphasize fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Dieticians recommend that recommend that at least half your daily’s protein, or about 6 oz should come from dairy, veggies, and grains. For a heart-healthy diet, the rest should come from lean meat, poultry or fish.
Vitamins A, C, and E are the important vitamins to keeping the heart healthy. Vitamin A is best sourced from recipe ingredients like egg yolks, animal liver, and fish oil. Vitamin C is obtained from citrus fruits, strawberries, peas, and red peppers. Vitamin E comes from almonds, tuna, chickpeas, sunflower oil, and avocados.
Poultry, lean meat, fish, egg whites, and low-fat dairy products are all excellent sources of protein. Certain types of fish like salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower blood fats, more popularly known as triglycerides. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in soybeans, flax seed, and canola oil.
Tomatoes can make some heart healthy recipes more delicious and interesting. Raw tomatoes or any tomato-based ingredients are rich sources of lycopene, a nutrient that can lessen the risk of coronary heart disease. Tomatoes are also rich in beta-carotene, which in turn can clear the arteries to get rid of toxic build-ups. This nutrient (beta-carotene) is also abundant in other ingredients like broccoli, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
Heart Healthy Recipe Tips:
- Watch Your Plate – Obesity is one of the leading causes of a heart disease. Make sure that you keep track of how much you are eating, especially if you go to a restaurant – usually the portions are far more than you need.
- Eat Less Fat And Salt – On average, we eat too much of both. Over consumption of salt is likely to lead to higher blood pressure, which can cause diseases such as stoke and heart disease. Excess consumption of fat can cause obesity and high cholesterol, and can lead to diseases such as diabetes.
- Eat More Fruits And Veggies – The average American consumes 14 grams of dietary fiber a day, which is considerably less than the recommended daily level of 25-35 g per day. Increasing your consumption of fruits and veggies is a great way to get extra fiber. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) MyPlate food guide recommends that half of your plate should be filled with fruits and veggies.
- Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids have been described as food for the heart. Research has found that this nutrient helps lower dangerous levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream. A recent study found consumed daily, they can lower bad cholesterol levels by 32% and simultaneously increase good cholesterol by up to 10%. Omega-3 fatty acids can also curtail inflammation that occurs upon formation of unhealthy plaque within the bloodstream. Fish and linseed oils are both good sources of this nutrient.
- Regular Exercise – A healthy body weight, and regular exercise are also key to a heart healthy diet. The U.S. Surgeon General recommended that people get at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week—30 minutes per day for at least five days per week.
- Plan Ahead – The best way to make sure that you’re getting what you need in terms of lean protein, fruits and veggies, complex carbohydrates is to plan ahead. If you wait until the last minute, you will probably choose the most convenient option, fast food or take out, which is more likely to be high in sodium and fat.
Even if it’s as healthy as chia seeds and plain tofu, you can always over eat. Try to be mindful of the portion size of the heart healthy recipes you consume. Do not overload your plate. Although these dishes contain less calories and fat, if you eat excessively, you may end up accumulating too many of these unwanted substances. Keep track of the proper serving size and the number of servings you actually eat.
Heart healthy recipes are a way to eat right for overall and heart health. When preparing the dishes, you should also pay attention to the ingredients you will use: put emphasis and priority on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Opt for lean protein sources and try to limit consumption of salty and high-fat foods.
As well as diet, make sure to take care of other aspects of physical and emotional health. Commit to a proper and regular exercise program. Perform physical tasks; sleep well; and try not to hold onto difficult emotions, which can put strain on the body, especially the heart. Reducing your stress levels, either by finding your own effective coping mechanisms or by packing less into your day is also great for cardiovascular health. Heart disease is America’s biggest killer, so take care of yourself!