Cook Yourself Towards a Healthy Heart!

A healthy diet and exercise is the best way to fight off ailments like heart disease. Doctors and health care professional agree that eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and whole grains are essential in maintaining a healthy body weight. Most Americans already know the importance of staying healthy, but people don’t realize that eating certain foods can prevent and even reverse heart disease. A diet rich in Omega-3 fats can work to combat heart disease and even reverse it.( Plus they are good for your skin!) Omega-3 fats work to eliminate excess triglycerides, blood fat, which is linked to heart disease. High levels of Triglycerides are caused by an excess of fat being stored in the body and blood stream. This leads to clogged arteries, making it harder for the heart to pump blood. But the good news is that foods containing these Omega-3’s can prevent and eliminate the storage of triglycerides. Avocados, fish, nuts, and oatmeal are all rich in Omega-3 fats and are very easy to cook with. Recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner containing Omega-3s can be found below. Now this week is the time to cook yourself towards a healthy heart!

BREAKFAST – For a twist on a classic, try PBJ Protein Oats

Start your day out right with a healthy Omega-3 fat rich breakfast!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 serving vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon natural jam or jelly

Directions:

  1. Combine oats and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and let oatmeal simmer until 90% of the water is absorbed.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in protein powder and vanilla.
  4. Pour oatmeal into a bowl and top with peanut butter and jelly/jam.
  5. Recipe from Fitnessmagazine.com (http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/quick- recipes/breakfast/easy-oatmeal- recipes/#page=1)

 

OMEGA-3 TOAST

An easy yet incredibly delicious recipe to try is avocado toast. There are so many variations on this easy dish but my favorite is avocado toast with smoked salmon. This is perfect for breakfast or a quick mid-day snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium sized avocado
  • 1 Tomato
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2-3 ounces of smoked salmon
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Toast the bread until desired crunch!
  2. Using a fork, mash avocado on to toast and season with salt and pepper
  3. Add the salmon and slices of tomatoes
  4. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and EAT!

 

SUPER FOOD SALAD

Look trendy without even trying! This salad uses some ingredients from the latest food crazes. Kale and pomegranates will make you look fancy to all of your friends and family but will only take minutes to make! And best of all it includes avocado, walnuts, and olive oil which all contain lots of Omega-3s.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

For the Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl; set aside. To assemble the salad, place kale in a large bowl; top with avocado, quinoa, pomegranate arils, pecans and goat cheese. Pour the dressing on top of the salad and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately! (recipe from damn delicious blog, http://damndelicious.net/2013/03/25/kale-salad-with-meyer-lemon-vinaigrette/)

 

BLACKENED SALMON WITH MANGO-AVOCADO SALSA

Summer is the perfect time to have people over for a barbecue, but extra bad fats from hot dogs and burgers can ruin the fun for people suffering from heart disease. Instead, provide guests with this tasty and easy recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 11⁄2 to 2 pounds wild salmon fillets, boneless and skin on
  • 3 teaspoons melted grass-fed butter
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 11⁄2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp onion powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp oregano
  • 1⁄2 tsp cumin
  • 1⁄2 tsp chili powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1⁄4 tsp thyme
  • 1⁄4 tsp cayenne

 

Mango Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe mango, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1 large avocado, seeded and diced
  • 1⁄4 cup diced grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

 

Directions:

  1. Slice the salmon evenly into 4 to 6 smaller fillets.
  2. Combine the butter and all of the spices in a bowl. Rub all over both sides of the salmon. Leave at room temperature while the grill heats.
  3. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the salsa ingredients together in a bowl and store in the refrigerator while the fish cooks.
  5. Sear the salmon, skinless side down first. Close the grill lid. Cook 1-3 minutes on the first side, depending on how thick the fillets are. (Try not to move them until you are going to flip them over to help keep them in one piece.)
  6. Using tongs and a metal spatula in the other hand, carefully turn the fish over, so that the skin side is down, and reduce the heat to medium. For charcoal grills, finish cooking over indirect heat furthest from the coals.
  7. Close the grill lid and finish cooking for another 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
  8. Salmon should be just barely opaque and will start to flake along the center of the fillet when done.
  9. Serve hot with the mango-avocado salsa spooned over it.

(recipe from Against all Grain blog http://againstallgrain.com/2013/05/18/blackened- salmon-with-mango-avocado- salsa/)

 

CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRY PARFAITS

The best part of any meal, dessert! Dessert is often categorized as bad and unhealthy, but it doesn’t have to be. With this recipe you can satisfy your sweet tooth and protect your heart.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of vanilla non-fat greek yogurt
  • 10 strawberries sliced
  • 1/4 cup of flax seed granola
  • 3 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips

Directions:

There is no wrong way to make a parfait! Assemble the ingredients in anyway you desire and enjoy.

 

Wine

And we saved the best for last! You can drink wine and still maintain a healthy heart. According to researchers, drinking a glass of red wine with dinner can actually improve heart health. “Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots.”   Moderation is still key but enjoying a glass of wine can actually improve heart health.

Eating a healthy diet is one of the best and easiest ways to ward off heart disease. Making simple changes such as incorporating Omega-3 fats and eliminating artery clogging trans and saturated fats can make a huge difference for those struggling with heart disease. Changing one’s diet is an easily obtainable goal especially when the healthy food tastes amazing. So get cooking, drink some wine, and see a healthy change in your body and heart!