Heart healthy recipes are a good way to start improving your nutritional intake each day. Improving and balancing your diet isn’t as hard as it may appear. Start with a few changes and incorporate a few others each couple of weeks. Before you know it you’ll be eating the recommended amount of fruits, vegetables and whole grains each day.
Making these changes to your diet using heart healthy recipes will help to decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke, immune mediated diseases and will improve your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. And the best part is that when you have a great basis of flavenoids, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, and folate the occasional chocolate, processed foods and desserts won’t be as detrimental to the health of your heart and you won’t crave them as often.
Most of your current recipes can be made into heart healthy recipes with a few basic changes. You can begin by changing the oils you use. Instead of using vegetable oil, lard or even canola oil, the best oil to use is grapeseed oil. The difference is in the way in which the oil is processed. The grapeseed oil is cold pressed while other oils are heat-treated which changes the chemical make up of the food. Olive oil is another heart healthy oil that is not as stable at high heat as grapeseed oil. Substituting grapeseed oil or a light extra virgin olive oil will decrease the flavor to almost nothing; you won’t notice the difference in any of your cooking – but your heart will.
Next try another substitution. After dinner each night eat a serving of seasonal fruit such as pineapple, berries, cherries, melons, or watermelon. The additional natural sugar will stave off your cravings for ice cream, candy and chocolate while delivering a high vitamin packed punch to your diet. After you have decreased your sugar, changed your oils and increased your fruits you begin to eat a salad with each dinner or lunch. This will increase the amount of green leafy vegetables you eat.
Instead of snacking on chips and dips try using raw nuts and seeds with organic raisons. Mix them together for a great trail mix that will kill your hunger pangs in the afternoon and give your heart protection against clots and arrhythmias. Try to get rid of all of the processed chips and snack foods in the house. Substitute ice cream for sherbet or homemade popsicles made with real fruit juice.
When you are cooking meals don’t deep fry but oven bake instead. Get rid of the sour cream, heavy whipping creams and butter from recipes. Instead substitute whole foods using baked potato for French Fries, brown rice instead of white or vinegar and oil based salad dressings instead of mayonnaise-based dressings.
Using heart healthy recipes to boost your nutrition will help your heart, your energy, decrease your cholesterol and triglycerides as well as decrease your risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease and immune mediated illnesses. Keeping your heart healthy keeps the rest of your body healthy too.
Here are a couple of heart healthy recipes to get you started.
BAKED DIJON CHICKEN
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all visible fat removed
1 tablespoon Dijon or coarse-grained mustard
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 375:F.
Rinse chicken or turkey and pat dry.
In a small bowl, stir together remaining ingredients. Arrange chicken or turkey in a single layer in a baking dish. Spread the mixture over the top of each piece.
Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes, or until chicken or turkey is tender and no longer pink. If you want flavored broth for rice or potatoes add approximately ½ a cup of water or chicken stock to the chicken approximately 10 minutes into cooking and cover the cooking dish.
BAKED CHICKEN PARMESAN
Olive oil spray
6 boneless chicken breast fillets (approximately 4 ounces each), skinned, all visible fat removed
4 slices whole-wheat bread
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
Preheat oven to 4500F. Lightly spray with olive oil spray a rectangular baking sheet and a rectangular cake-cooling rack of a slightly smaller size.
Place rack onto baking sheet. Set aside.
Rinse chicken and pat dry. Set aside. Place bread in blender or the work bowl of a food processor. Process into fine crumbs.
Pour crumbs into a shallow bowl. Add garlic powder, paprika, cheese, parsley and thyme. Stir to mix well.
Pour buttermilk into a shallow bowl.
Dip fillets into buttermilk, shake off excess and then dip into crumbs.
Place fillets on prepared rack. Drizzle each with a teaspoon olive oil.
Bake 15 minutes; turn fillets over and bake 10 minutes more.
MayoClinic: Heart Disease
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Lowering Your Cholesterol with TLC
American Heart Association: Managing Blood Pressure with Heart Healthy Diet
The Franklin Institute: The Human Heart; Healthy Heart Diet
University of Maryland Medical Center Heart-Healthy Diet Lifestyle Changes
Women’s Health.gov: Heart Healthy Eating
Harvard Health Publications: Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart