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Put Your Heart Into Healthy Eating


Women's Nutrition - February is American Heart Month!

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease claims the lives of more than 400,000 women each year – about one per minute. Risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and being overweight can increase the risk of developing heart disease. A healthy diet can help lower or control these risk factors, so put your heart into healthy eating.

Not sure where to start? Here are 5 nutrient-dense heart healthy options plus a recipe that can be a great idea to add to your meal planning for this week.

1) Non-Starchy Vegetables: All greens such as such beet, collard, dandelion, kale, mustard, turnip, chard/Swiss chard, microgreens and spinach, plus garlic, onions, and tomatoes. The leafy green vegetables are considered therapeutic because they have been shown to help lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels, reducing inflammation, and protecting blood vessels by lessening oxidative stress. Serving is ½ cup of cooked vegetable or 1 cup of raw, leafy greens.

2) Blueberries: Blueberries are packed with healthy phytonutrients for the heart and blood vessels. Studies show that the flavonoid anthocyanin in blueberries helps to keep blood vessels open and even lower heart attack risk. Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels among all fruits, vegetables, spices, and seasonings common in the American diet. A serving is 1 cup.

3) Wild-Caught Fish: Research studies support fish consumption for cardiovascular health. Even a modest consumption of 1 to 2 servings each week, especially of higher omega-3 fatty acid containing fish such as wild salmon, may decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure slightly, and reduce stroke and heart failure risk. Some fish, such as tuna, and sardines, contain small proteins that are protective for the heart and can help to reduce blood pressure. A serving is 3-4 ounces.

4) Mixed Nuts & Seeds: Mixed nuts (especially walnuts and almonds) contain healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats together with phytochemicals like plant sterols (plant compounds that block intestinal absorption of cholesterol), polyphenols, antioxidants, and fiber. For a healthy snack on the go nuts and seeds are a great option or sprinkle on top of salads, or oatmeal. Aim for a mixed blend of unsalted nuts that are not roasted in oil. Try 1 to 2 servings of nuts on a daily basis.

5) Tomato: One staple of the Mediterranean diet is tomatoes. Tomatoes, especially cooked tomatoes, are excellent sources of lycopene, a free radical-quenching carotenoid. They also contain other heart-protective carotenoids like ß-carotene and -tocopherol. Those who are sensitive to the nightshade family of plants should avoid eating tomatoes.

 

Okay, here it is - one of my favorite heart-healthy recipes . It’s a super-food packed meal that you can enjoy for dinner or lunch.

Mediterranean Salmon

Author: Robyn @ simply fresh dinners

Prep time: 10 mins |Cook time: 20 mins |Total time: 30 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 4- 4 oz boneless salmon fillets

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or use jarred)

  • 1.5 cups grape tomatoes

  • 1,5 cups diced zucchini

  • 4 spring (green) onions, diced,

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper

  • 4 tablespoons of feta cheese

  • handful of fresh basil, chopped

OPTIONS: olives, white navy beans, chickpeas, red bell pepper

ALSO: parchment paper (or foil) sprayed with olive oil - 4 sheets

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.

  • Combine tomatoes, zucchini, onions, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.

  • Place salmon on separate parchment sheets and spoon mixture over top. Fold each foil piece into a slight tented but tightly sealed packet.

  • Place foil on oven racks and bake for 20 minutes. (may require longer if salmon is particularly thick) Let sit for 5 minutes.

  • Open packets (careful, they are hot!) and garnish with feta cheese and basil and serve immediately.

Sources:

Emory Health Care. Heart & Vascular Health Blog. Retrieved from http://advancingyourhealth.org/heartblog/2012/09/12/heart-healthy-salmon-recipe/

Institute of Functional Medicine. Cardiometabolic Comprehensive Guide. Retrieved from https://www.functionalmedicine.org/

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