Let’s face it: The world has changed a lot since we were kids. Food For Healthy Heart The life we lead now is very different to that of our parents and grandparents, and you’d be hard pressed to find many people who say they eat the same food their ancestors did. These days, convenience is king, which means that many of us aren’t eating how evolution intended us to.
Food For Healthy Heart
When you add these to foods instead of salt and fat, you’re making a heart-healthy choice. They add flavor without the bad stuff. Spices and other foods are delicious ways to eat heart-smart.
Mild, tender black beans are packed with heart-healthy nutrients. Folate, antioxidants, and magnesium can help lower blood pressure. Their fiber helps control both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Add beans to boost soups and salads.
Prep Tip: Rinse canned beans to remove extra salt.
Red Wine and Resveratrol
If you drink alcohol, a little red wine may be a heart-healthy choice. Resveratrol and catechins, two antioxidants in red wine, may protect artery walls. Alcohol can also boost HDL, the good cholesterol.
Tip: Too much alcohol hurts the heart. Don’t have more than one drink a day for women or two drinks for men. It’s best to talk to your doctor first. Alcohol may cause problems for people taking aspirin and other medications.
Salmon: Super Food
A top food for heart health, it’s rich in omega-3s. Omega-3s are healthy fats that may lessen the risk of heart rhythm disorders and lower blood pressure. They may also lower triglycerides and curb inflammation. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of salmon or other oily fish a week.
Cooking Tip: Bake salmon in foil with herbs and veggies. Toss extra cooked salmon in fish tacos and salads.
Tuna for Omega-3s
Often cheaper than salmon, tuna also has omega-3s. Albacore (white tuna) has more omega-3s than other tuna varieties. Try grilling tuna steak with dill and lemon. Reel in these other sources of omega-3s, too: mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and anchovies.
Health Tip: Choose tuna packed in water, not oil, to keep it heart-healthy.
This oil is a healthy fat made from smashed olives. It’s rich in heart-healthy antioxidants. They may protect your blood vessels. When olive oil replaces saturated fat (like butter), it can help lower cholesterol levels. Try it on salads and cooked veggies, or with bread.
Taste tip: For the best flavor, look for cold-pressed and use it within 6 months.
A small handful of walnuts a day may lower your cholesterol. It may also protect against inflammation in your heart’s arteries. Walnuts are packed with omega-3s, healthy fats called monounsaturated fats, plant sterols, and fiber. The benefits come when walnuts replace bad fats, like those in chips and cookies.
Tip: Try walnut oil in salad dressings.
Slivered almonds go well with vegetables, fish, chicken, and desserts. They have plant sterols, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. Almonds may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. Grab a small handful a day.
Taste Tip: Toast them to boost their creamy, mild flavor.
You may have seen these as an appetizer at an Asian restaurant. Edamame is the Japanese word for soybeans. Soy protein can help lower cholesterol levels. A cup of edamame also has 8 grams of heart-healthy fiber. To get that much fiber from whole wheat bread, you’d need to eat about four slices.
Tip: Take frozen edamame, boil it, and then serve warm in the pod. Popping out the yummy beans from the tough pod makes a satisfying snack.
Eat tofu and you’ll get a great form of vegetarian soy protein with heart-healthy minerals, fiber, and polyunsaturated fats. It can take on the taste of the spices or sauces you use to cook it.
Tips: Chop firm tofu, marinate, then grill or stir-fry, going easy on the oil. Add tofu to soups for protein with little added fat.
Swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes. With a lower glycemic index than white potatoes, these spuds won’t cause a quick spike in blood sugar. They also have fiber, vitamin A, and lycopene.
Taste Tip: Boost their natural sweetness with a sprinkle of cinnamon and lime juice instead of sugary toppings.
Sweet and juicy, oranges have the cholesterol-fighting fiber pectin. They also have potassium, which helps control blood pressure. In one study, 2 cups of OJ a day boosted blood vessel health. It also lowered blood pressure in men.
Nutrition Tip: A medium orange has about 62 calories and 3 grams of fiber.
This dark green, leafy vegetable is rich in potassium and magnesium. These minerals help control blood pressure. Swiss chard also has heart-healthy fiber, vitamin A, and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Try serving it with grilled meats or as a bed for fish.
Prep Tip: Sauté it with olive oil and garlic until wilted. Season with herbs and pepper.
Try this nutty whole grain in place of rice. You can also simmer barley into soups and stews. The fiber in barley can help lower cholesterol levels. It may lower blood sugar levels, too.
Tip: Get to know your barley. Hulled or “whole grain” barley is the most nutritious. Barley grits are toasted and ground. They make a nice cereal or as a side dish. Pearl barley is quick, but a lot of the heart-healthy fiber has been removed.
A warm bowl of oatmeal fills you up for hours, fights snack attacks, and helps keep blood sugar levels stable over time — making it useful for people with diabetes, too. Oats’ fiber can help your heart by lowering bad cholesterol (LDL). Best results come from using steel cut or slow cooked oats.
Baking Tip: Making pancakes, muffins, or other baked goods? Swap out one-third of the flour and put in oats instead.
This shiny, honey-colored seed has three things that are good for your heart: fiber, phytochemicals called lignans, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Tip: Grind flaxseed for the best nutrition. Add it to cereal, baked goods, yogurt, or mustard on a sandwich.
When you think of dairy foods, you probably think, “Good for my bones!” These foods can help control high blood pressure, too. Yogurt is high in calcium and potassium. To really boost the calcium and minimize the fat, choose low-fat varieties.
Foods Fortified With Sterols
Some margarines, soy milks, almond milks, and orange juices have cholesterol-fighting sterols and stanols added. These plant extracts block your gut from soaking up cholesterol. They can lower LDL levels by 10% without messing with good cholesterol.
Sweet cherries, sour cherries, dried cherries, and cherry juice — they’re all good. All are packed with an antioxidants called anthocyanins. They’re believed to help protect blood vessels.
Get More: Sprinkle dried cherries into cereal, muffin batter, green salads, and wild rice.
Blueberries are simply brilliant when it comes to nutrition. They’ve got anthocyanins, those blood vessel-helping antioxidants. Those antioxidants give the berries their dark blue color. Blueberries also have fiber and more than a handful of other great nutrients. Add fresh or dried blueberries to cereal, pancakes, or yogurt.
Dessert Idea: Puree a batch for a sweet sauce you can use as a dip or to drizzle on other sweet treats.
Dark Leafy Greens
Your parents were onto something when they told you to eat your greens. They’re full of vitamins and minerals. They’re also high in nitrates, a substance that helps to open blood vessels so oxygen-rich blood can reach your heart. You’ll find them in veggies like:
- Bok Choy
- Mustard greens
Heart Healthy Diet
Your heart is a finely tuned machine. To keep it running in top form, you need to give it heart-healthy fuel. And that means you should choose a healthy diet. Some foods offer great heart benefits, but how do you choose?
More than 1 in 10 Americans has been diagnosed with heart disease. Picking the right healthy foods can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Here you will find 25 of the best foods to protect your heart and blood vessels. Learn the top nutrients that keep your heart beating at its best, along with menu suggestions to make these foods part of your daily meals.
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease your risk of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias), lower triglyceride levels, slow the growth of plaque in your arteries, and slightly lower blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of omega-3 rich foods like salmon each week. A serving size is 3.5 ounces of cooked fish.
Salmon is a versatile food. Grill it with a rub or marinade, chop some and add it to a pasta dish with fat free marinara sauce, or add it to your salads for a protein punch.
Farmed Vs. Wild Salmon
Does the way your salmon was raised influence its omega-3 contents? Many grocery stores now carry both farm-raised and wild-caught salmon. It turns out that farm-raised salmon tends to have more omega-3 fat, but also more total fat. Even though farmed salmon has more saturated fat, it is still about half the amount found in the same portion of flank steak.
Ground flaxseed also has omega-3’s, along with both soluble and insoluble fiber. It has one of the highest available sources of lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities.
Ground flaxseed is easy to incorporate into your diet and can be mixed into just about anything you normally eat. Sprinkle it on your breakfast cereal, on top of low-fat yogurt, mix into muffins, or combine into your smoothies.
What About Flaxseed Oil?
Flaxseed oil is loaded with omega-3s, but they are the less effective type known as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA needs special enzymes to be converted to omega-3, and these enzymes are found in your body in limited supply. This means that at most, you can expect about 15% of your flaxseed oil omega-3s to be converted into its most useful forms. So while you certainly do get some benefit, it may be less than your supplement label suggests.
Oatmeal is a tasty breakfast food, and another good source of those omega-3 fatty acids. And it is a fiber superstar, offering 4 grams in every one-cup serving. It also has nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Oatmeal is a filling breakfast, and you can top it with fresh berries for an even more heart-healthy meal. Try fat free oatmeal cookies, oat bread, or mix whole rolled oats into a turkey burger meatloaf.
Black or Kidney Beans
You know the schoolyard chant: “Beans, beans, good for your heart.” Turns out it’s true! Beans have lots of soluble fiber, B-complex vitamins, niacin, folate, magnesium, calcium, and, you guessed it, omega-3 fatty acids.
Beans are so versatile. You can include them in soups, stews, or salads. Or make a meal out of them.
Try black beans on a whole-grain pita tostada with avocado, or combine them with corn kernels and onions to make stuffed bell peppers. Add canned kidney beans to a salad of cucumber, fresh corn, onions, and peppers, then toss with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Or bring black beans and kidney beans together for a delicious, nutritious vegetarian chili.
Nuts have been shown to lower blood cholesterol. And for a heart-healthy nut, almonds make a great choice. They contain plant omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and heart-favorable monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Almonds are so easy to eat – you can top your yogurt or salad with almond slivers, or snack on a healthy trail mix. You can also try them in cooking. Sprinkle them on a rice or quinoa dish, or spread them across some salmon for a nice crunch. Choose unsalted almonds for additional cardiac protection.
Just be sure your almonds are raw or dry roasted (rather than oil roasted), and keep portion sizes in mind. Though they are heart-healthy, they are also high in fat, some of which is saturated fat. Like other nuts, almonds are dense with calories, and a little can go a long way. They are best eaten in moderation.
Easy party food ideas and tips for kids birthday parties.
Your child’s birthday is approaching and the excitement at home is building. While you want to celebrate the occasion with your little darling, the idea of organising a party may seem like a nightmare. For many parents, one of the most daunting parts of organising a children’s birthday party is the idea of feeding everyone. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Need some easy party food ideas and tips? Dont stress – we’ve got you covered!
Healthy snacks – or not?
While your aim may be to delight the kids with healthy nosh, they will always expect some treats at a birthday party. Try to provide a mixture of both healthy snacks and treats so as your child’s friends are not left disappointed as the party ends.
- Children often base their opinions of food on its appearance, by putting colourful fruit and cheese on sticks, kids will be much more likely to eat these healthier snacks.
- Cut sandwiches into interesting shapes and place them on colourful plates so as to increase their attractiveness to young eyes.
- Be careful to avoid placing healthier, ‘less interesting’ snacks next to the more exciting cakes and buns that you have on offer. No child will go for a ham and cheese sandwich over an icing smothered fairy cake!
- Keep your portion sizes small. Children have very little tummies that fill up quickly! Mini pizzas and mini hamburgers are great for young kids too.
The pièce de résistance – The cake
Everyone love cake and the birthday cake is the center to any kids birthday party. Decide whether you will take on the challenge to bake one yourself, or choose from one of the many birthday cake suppliers around the country. A novelty cake is always sure to delight young party goers and a child will have his own preferences on theme. Depending on how much you want to spend, any cake shape or colour can be made.
Food as a fun party activity
Meal time can be turned into a fun party activity for the kids at your party. Let the kids assemble their food themselves. Bowls of fillings may be placed on a table so as kids can create their own rolls, sandwiches or wraps.
They will be more interested in their food if they feel they have made it themselves and they will have fun as they eat – a double bonus!
Always ask for allergies
When planning your child’s birthday party, be sure to ask parents of any allergies that their kids may have. It is important to be aware of any allergies when planning the food you will serve so as to avoid any unfortunate happenings on the day and to ensure everything runs smoothly. For more on allergies click here.