These foods can give your heart a better chance…
What is the biggest threat to our health? It wasn’t cancer or even an accident, but heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, one in four deaths in the US is caused by heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes. These statistics are terrifying, but the great news is, there’s something powerful we can do to stop ourselves from falling victim to this disease.
Even if you are one of the 47 percent of Americans living with a major risk factor, there are preventative steps you can take for a healthier heart, says registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner. All you must do is embrace some easy lifestyle changes starting with your diet.
“Food is literally one of the best medicines to improve our health”
said Blatner. “Studies show us time and time again that a balanced diet including heart-healthy unsaturated fats, along with a few servings of fruit and vegetables can give you added protection against heart attack and stroke.”
Here are five of Blatner’s go-to foods you can easily incorporate into your diet for an everyday dose of heart-healthy compounds.
Salmon and other fatty fish like sardines are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which lower the risk of irregular heartbeats and help reduce plaque buildup in the arteries. If fish is not already in your feeding rotation, it is time to start. The time to prepare and cook fish entrees is much shorter than that of chicken, beef and pork, making them the perfect weeknight meal.
Leafy green vegetables contain nitrates, healthy compounds that not only reduce the risk of heart attack, but may additionally increase survival rates after a heart attack. Plus, spinach, kale, and other dark green vegetables contain carotenoids, which work to keep blood vessels healthy. So aim to have at least one cup of leafy green vegetables each day, such as scrambled eggs in the morning, green juice as a snack, or a leafy salad at lunch or dinner.
They contain protein, fiber and healthy fats, which work together to keep us feeling full and contented. Despite being high in fat, research shows people who eat nuts daily are slimmer than those who do not, and staying thin is definitely heart healthy. So go ahead and stock up on almonds, walnuts or pistachios for snacking, and choose minimally processed ones, avoiding highly salted candies or nuts.
Good news: Eating dark chocolate every day can reduce heart attacks and strokes in high-risk patients. The magic compounds here are flavonoids, which are beneficial for blood pressure and blood clotting while reducing inflammation. If you want to make chocolate an after-dinner indulgence, choose brands with 60-70 percent cocoa and those that haven’t got dairy fat in the ingredient list.
Contrary to popular belief, eating one egg a day has no negative effects on coronary health and may in fact reduce stroke risk by up to 12 percent, according to a recent review of 30 years of scientific studies cited at nuttrainingredients.com. But all eggs aren’t created equal. Eggland’s Best Eggs, for example, offer the benefits of 25 percent less saturated fat, five times more Vitamin D, twice as much omega-3 and three times more Vitamin B12 than regular eggs. Eggland’s Best’s superior nutritional profile is as a result of its entirely vegetarian diet. So get cracking and experimenting with recipes featuring Eggland’s Best Eggs poached, baked and even hard poached for a heart-healthy treat.
Very vegetable frittata
Eggland’s 4 Best Eggs (large)
1/3 cup Eggland’s Best Liquid Egg White
1 cup nonfat milk
1 tablespoon of chopped chives
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup halved cherry or pear tomatoes
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
arugula, to serve (optional)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk and Dijon mustard; set aside.
In a 10- to 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet, spray with cooking spray and warmth to medium-high.
Sauté the onions until soft – about 2 minutes.
Add mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini to the skillet. Sauté until barely softened – 3 to 4 minutes more.
Whisk in the egg mixture again, then pour it over the vegetables.
Sprinkle tomatoes and feta cheese on top.
Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the bottom and sides of the frittata are firm — 8 to 10 minutes.
Preheat the broiler oven.
Place skillet under broiler and broil until frittata is cooked through (no longer jiggly) and lightly browned on top – about 5 minutes (observe closely).
Cut into 4 wedges and serve instantly, over a handful of arugula, if desired.
– Recipe courtesy of Eggland’s Best.