When it comes to keeping your heart in good health, there are several factors that come into play. Getting plenty of exercise, quitting smoking, and drinking in moderation are all key, but one of the most important things you can do is adjust your diet. While the word diet can bring about feelings of despair, in reality, there’s nothing to fear. With a continued focus on health and wellness in 2017, today’s heart and waist-healthy choices are full of unique ingredients and bursting with flavor.
A heart-healthy diet doesn’t have to be one that’s lacking in flavor. Rather, it’s about choosing more of the things that work for your body and not against it. It focuses on eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. It also advocates, in moderation, healthy fats such as the polyunsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and certain types of fish.
The lifestyle encourages you to get protein from low-fat sources, such as lean meats, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. Also pay attention to the amount of sodium in your diet—healthy adults under 50 should strive for less than 2300 milligrams per day, while adults over 50 and those with certain health conditions, such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or those with high blood pressure, should limit their intake to no more than 1500 milligrams.
Planning is an important part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Create menu plans to keep yourself in check, and eat reasonable portions. Finally, don’t be afraid to indulge in a treat every now and then.
Here are a couple of our favorite heart-healthy recipes.
Sweet Potatoes with Shredded Salad
4 small sweet potatoes (6 to 8 oz. each)
2 medium carrots (4 oz. each)
1 large beet (about 6 oz.)
1 medium Granny Smith apple (about 6 oz.)
1/2 small red onion
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. pepitas
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
Plain Greek yogurt, for serving
Prick the potatoes with a fork and cook until soft. Using a food processor, coarsely grate the radishes, carrots, beet, apple, and onion. Toss the vegetables with the oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the seeds in a small skillet for 2 minutes, until toasted. Add the maple syrup and then let the mixture cool on foil. Top the split potatoes with the salad and seeds, and serve.
1 lb 93% lean ground beef
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz can) crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
black pepper, to taste
3 medium (8 ounces each) zucchini, sliced 1/8″ thick
1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1 large egg
16 oz (4 cups) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Brown meat, remove from pan, then saute garlic and onions. Return meat to pan and add tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer covered for 30-40 minutes. Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch slices, add salt, and set aside for 10 minutes. After letting the zucchini rest, blot out excess water with a paper towel and then grill over medium heat, 2-3 minutes per side.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix ricotta cheese, parmesan, and egg. In 9X12 casserole dish, spread 1/2 cup of sauce, then zucchini, then cheese mixture, and then 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat this process until all ingredients are used. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20 minutes. Finally, top with cheese and cook until melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
Neighbors Emergency Center supports your start to a healthier lifestyle. Check our Facebook page to stay updated on what Neighbors is doing in your community and new center openings. With our 24-hour emergency rooms in Texas we can treat you quickly and effectively so you can get back to doing what you love.