Heart Health

  • By RRC
  • 25 Aug, 2017

 The Top 10 Foods to Incorporate in Your Diet that Encourage a Healthy Heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women—and claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Having a cardiovascular disease can also take an emotional toll, affecting mood and overall quality of life. While weight control and regular exercise are critical for keeping your heart in shape—the food you eat is the key to a healthy heart. By adopting better eating habits, it’s possible to have lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and high blood pressure, and take greater control over the quality and length of your life. No single food can make you magically healthy, so your overall dietary pattern is more important than specific foods. Instead of fried, processed food, packaged meals, and sugary snacks, a heart-healthy diet is built around “real,” natural food. Here are some of the best foods to eat for a healthy, happy heart:

1. Oatmeal

Start your day with a delicious breakfast of hot oats! Oats are full of omega-3 fatty acids and potassium. How are these helpful for your heart?
  • Omega-3 fat’s lower heart rate and blood pressure, and they improve the health of blood vessels.
  • Your body depends on potassium to help control the electrical balance of your heart as well as metabolize carbohydrates and build muscle. Low potassium levels can cause muscle weakness and heart rhythm disturbances.

2. Berries

Need something yummy to top your oatmeal with? Try fresh berries- blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries (to name a few!) are full of antioxidants, something that is optimal for heart health. Antioxidants prevent disease by fighting free radicals, substances that harm the body when left unchecked. Free radicals are formed by normal bodily processes such as breathing, and by environmental contaminants like cigarette smoke. Without adequate amounts of antioxidants, these free radicals travel throughout the body, damaging cells. Berries are an easy snack, whether you’re eating them by the handful, in a smoothie, or juiced !

3. Salmon

Dinner’s served, and on the menu is seafood! Salmon in particular is full of good fats and omega-3 fatty acids, reducing your blood pressure and preventing clotting. Similar fish that also offer these benefits are tuna, sardines, rainbow trout, and mackerel.

    4. Spinach (and lots of leafy greens!)

    The Physicians' Health Study examined more than 15,000 men without heart disease, and those who ate at least two-and-a-half servings of vegetables each day cut their risk of heart disease by about 25%, compared with those who didn't eat the veggies. Spinach and greens are good for lowering blood pressure, and it can help reduce the effects of sodium in the body.

      5. Potatoes

      Surprise! I bet you didn’t think this starchy root vegetable would make the list, but potatoes (all shapes, sorts, and sizes), have many nutritional benefits, particularly in the skin. Like berries, their skin is loaded with blood-pressure lowering antioxidants. They also have the added bonus of aiding satiety, which assistances with weight loss! Just don’t go grabbing bags of potato chips, or frying them in oil- this is how potatoes got their bad reputation. Search for healthy recipes , and avoid fast food joints.

      6. Chia Seeds

      These little guys are all the rage and very trendy right now, but for good reason! One teaspoon packs a punch of health benefits, and helps reduce bad cholesterol and plaque buildup. These seeds are easy to sprinkle over breakfast foods, or to add to your favorite smoothie.

      7. Wine

      You can still enjoy a night out and have a happy heart! There is compound called resveratrol with antioxidant properties and it can be found in dark-skinned berries and grapes. Madirans and Cabernets typically contain large amounts of procyanidins, an antioxidant that helps reduce cholestrol and increases arterial health.

      8. Dark Chocolate

      Cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made, is rich in flavanols, which can help lower your blood pressure and prevent blood clots. It also acts as an antioxidant, which can keep “bad” cholesterol from sticking to your artery walls. Choose dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) to get more flavanols and less sugar, as sugar raises your risk of heart disease.

      9. Almonds or Almond Butter

      Almonds have been found to be particularly helpful at preventing the development of cardiovascular diseases. The fats profile of this tree nut, which is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat, along with its nutrients and phytosterols, all work together to reduce the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, otherwise known as the bad cholesterol, in the blood.

      10. Oranges

      Oranges and citrus fruit love your heart! A source of pectin, citrus fruit’s are packed with a flavaonoid that lowers blood pressure and reduces artery inflammation. Citrus also contains hesperidin, a plant chemical that improves blood flow to the heart, and vitamin C, a potent protector against stroke.

      The Personal Gourmet Blog

      By RRC 15 Sep, 2017

      Recipe for: 12 Muffins


      Ingredients

      • 2 cups packed, raw kale leaves, woody stalks discarded
      • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
      • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
      • 2 eggs
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      • 1 lemon, zest and juice
      • 1 ½ cups plain flour
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • ½ teaspoon salt

      Instructions

      1. Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease a muffin tray.
      2. Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and steam for 5-6 minutes until tender. Once softened, drain the water, and puree the leaves in a food processor.
      3. In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then beat in the kale, vanilla, lemon zest and juice.
      4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and stir to gently combine.
      5. Fill the muffin cups ¾ full and bake for 15-20 minutes. 
      By RRC 25 Aug, 2017
      Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women—and claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Having a cardiovascular disease can also take an emotional toll, affecting mood and overall quality of life. While weight control and regular exercise are critical for keeping your heart in shape—the food you eat is the key to a healthy heart. By adopting better eating habits, it’s possible to have lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and high blood pressure, and take greater control over the quality and length of your life. No single food can make you magically healthy, so your overall dietary pattern is more important than specific foods. Instead of fried, processed food, packaged meals, and sugary snacks, a heart-healthy diet is built around “real,” natural food. Here are some of the best foods to eat for a healthy, happy heart:
      By RRC 21 Aug, 2017

      Prep Time: 25 minutes
      Cook Time: 65 minutes

      Serves 10

      By RRC 17 Aug, 2017
      After exercise and some intense calorie-burning, it is extremely important to replenish your body with the proper nutrients so that your body and muscles can recover. Here are the top 5 snacks to have after a sweaty session on the treadmill:
      By RRC 15 Aug, 2017

      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      Cook Time: 35 minutes

      Serves 6

      By RRC 10 Aug, 2017

      Prep Time: 10 minutes

      Cook Time: 12 minutes

      Serves 4


      INGREDIENTS

      • 12oz raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, and tail removed
      • 8 oz cleaned squid cut into rings
      • 12 mussels, scrubbed 
      • 8 oz linguini 
      • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion 
      • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper 
      • 1/2 cup thinly sliced zucchini
      • 3 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tbsp
      • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
      • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
      • 1 tsp hot chili sauce, or to taste
      • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
      • Salt and Pepper to taste

      INSTRUCTIONS

      1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking oil. 
      2. Place the shrimp, squid and mussels on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 8 minutes, or until the mussels open. Remove from the oven and keep covered.
      3. While the seafood roasts, cook the linguini in boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 Tbsp of the pasta water for the sauce. Set aside.
      4. While the pasta cooks, spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking oil, add the 2tsp of olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and zucchini; stir-fry for 4 minutes, just until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the seafood, pasta, the final tbsp. of olive oil, reserved pasta water, lemon juice, garlic, chili sauce, cilantro, salt and pepper. Toss well and serve. 

      Nutritional Analysis per Serving (1/4 of the recipe)

      • Calories 491 
      • Protein 32 g 
      • Fat 17 g 
      • Saturated Fat 2.5 g 
      • Carbohydrates 52 g 
      • Cholesterol 230 mg 
      • Sodium 379 mg 
      • Fiber 3.4 g 

      By RRC 09 Aug, 2017
      Ingredients
      • 1 cup of flour
      • 1/2 tsp baking soda
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1/2 cup brown sugar
      • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
      • 2 tbsp milk
      • 2 tbsp olive oil
      • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
      • 1 cup raw kale (or spinach), woody stalks discarded

      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
      2. In a food processor, blend kale until extremely fine.
      3. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then stir in remaining wet ingredients, as well as the kale, to form a dough. The dough will seem dry at first but will loosen up. **Add 1 additional tbsp milk of choice only if needed
      4. Roll the dough into balls. Place on a cookie tray, and bake 11 minutes. They will appear underdone, but leave them out to cool for 10 minutes, in which they will settle.
      By RRC 31 Jul, 2017

      Prep Time: 10 minutes
      
Bake Time: 14 minutes

      Serves 12

      By RRC 20 Jul, 2017
      In the last decade, nutrition, health, and wellness have become a huge topic of discussion, and everyone seems to have a different opinion on what is best for overall health, well-being, and weight loss! But how much of this information is rooted in fact? Between vilified foods, strict diets, and excessive exercise regimes, it’s hard to decipher what is valuable nutritional information , and what is mainstream nonsense. Here are several “facts” from mainstream nutrition that you should reconsider:
      By RRC 14 Jul, 2017

      Makes 4 servings

      Preparation time 20 minutes • Cooking time 16 minutes

      • 12 oz (375 g) diced boneless skinless chicken breasts
      • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour
      • 2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil
      • 11/3 cups (335 mL) chopped onion
      • 2/3 cup (160 mL) diced carrots
      • 2 cups (500 mL) diced mushrooms
      • 3/4 cup (185 mL) diced red bell pepper
      • 2/3 cup (160 mL) diced water chestnuts
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) diced green onions
      • 1/3 cup (80 mL) chopped cilantro

      Hoisin Sauce

      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) Hoisin Sauce, divided
      • 8 large Boston lettuce leaves
      • 2 tsp (10 mL) sesame seeds
      1. Dust the chicken with the flour and sauté in a skillet sprayed with vegetable oil just until cooked. Alternatively, these can also be grilled on the BBQ! Set aside when cooked through.
      2. In a large nonstick skillet sprayed with vegetable spray, heat the oil then sauté the onions for 5 minutes or just tender and fragrant. Add the carrots and mushrooms and sauté for another 8 minutes until tender, with no moisture left from the mushrooms. Add the red pepper and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the chicken, water chestnuts, green onions and cilantro.
      3. Add half of the Hoisin Sauce to the chicken mixture.
      4. Serve the chicken mixture with the lettuce and the remaining sauce on the side. Garnish with sesame seeds.

      ***Tips: Make ahead prepare the entire dish early in the day. Reheat gently in a skillet just before serving.

      Nutrition information (per serving)

      • Calories 262
      • Carbohydrates 31.4 g
      • Fibre 4.1 g
      • Protein 21.3 g
      • Total fat 6.7 g
      • Saturated fat 0.9 g
      • Cholesterol 45 mg
      • Sodium 525 mg
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