Posted on Jul 20, 2023, 3 p.m.
Heart Health is Important at Any Age.
When it comes to protecting yourself from heart disease, maintaining a healthy diet is critical. Not only is it essential to manage risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, and sodium intake, but you also need to consume the right blend of nutrients to support healthy heart function. We’ve gathered three recipes that strike a fine balance of heart-healthy nutrition. Why not consider trying these out for your next big meal, or use them as inspiration for your own creations?
If you have an immersion blender, this tasty soup is a great heart-healthy dish that can be reheated for meal prep throughout the week. This particular soup has several star ingredients that help it stand out from its cream-based competition.
The obvious star is the carrots: these orange wonders are full of antioxidants and beta-carotene, which can help stave off cardiovascular disease and cancers. However, its co-stars of onion and fresh ginger pull a lot of nutritional weight. Onion contains organic sulfur compounds that, in addition to giving it that tear-inducing smell, also helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Ginger, which complements the carrots and gives this dish its spice, has a long history as an herbal medicine, and studies have shown health benefits as varied as increased weight loss and lower cholesterol levels.
To keep things healthy, this dish swaps the heavy cream commonly found in pureed soups for coconut milk, giving it a lighter taste overall. Don’t use coconut water here: you’ll end up with a watery mess instead of the creamy consistency you want!
1 yellow onion, diced.
4 cups carrot, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1-inch nub of peeled and minced garlic (about 1.5 tbsp)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup coconut milk, full fat
Cinnamon to taste.
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until soft (about five minutes) then add the carrots, ginger, garlic powder, salt cinnamon, and broth. Boil until carrots are tender: about 20 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, blend while slowly adding coconut milk until smooth. Top with cilantro and serve. A regular blender will also work, but be careful when transferring soup from the pot!
Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts have recently been undergoing a renaissance. In stark contrast to the bland, mushy sprouts of old, the modern Brussels sprout is a sophisticated, robustly flavored snack that takes on a delightfully crispy texture when cooked. There’s no sacrifice to nutrition either, as these little cabbage look-alikes are rich in kaempferol, another powerful antioxidant. Balsamic vinegar also serves as an excellent source of antioxidants, and may even serve a role in reducing blood pressure.
We’re going a bit decadent this time with feta and honey. These are both meant to be consumed in moderation, but still stand out above their alternatives. Feta contains less fat than more ripened cheeses like brie, but you should pick a low-sodium variety. Honey contains antioxidants and flavonoids, but the high sugar content isn’t great. Still, a diet without some decadence is a diet that’s hard to stick to, so seeking out healthy alternatives to more indulgent ingredients is always good. We’ll be finishing the dish off with walnuts, a great source of Omega-3 fatty acid, with a proven role in promoting heart health.
2 lbs fresh Brussels sprouts, stems removed, cut in half lengthwise.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¾ cups low-sodium feta, crumbled.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with the center rack in place. Wrap a baking sheet in aluminum foil.
- In a pan or bowl, toss sprouts with oil, honey, salt, and pepper until coated.
- Arrange sprouts in a single layer on your baking sheet, cut side down. Do not crowd the sheet! Split into batches if needed. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the sprouts, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, tossing gently with a spatula to coat. Continue cooking for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and top with cheese and walnuts. Serve.
Miso Glazed Salmon with Asparagus
Salmon, rich in Omega-3s, is one of the more heart-healthy meats you can eat, but we’re ramping things up with ginger and asparagus. Asparagus, in particular, is said to reduce inflammation and improve cognitive function and is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
½ lb salmon filet (fresh or frozen), patted dry and deboned.
1 tbsp white miso paste
½ tbsp brown sugar
1 ½ tbsp Tamari soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
2 tsp fresh grated ginger.
2 tsp olive oil
6 oz. asparagus (about 12 spears)
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Whisk together miso, brown sugar, tamari, sesame oil, and ginger.
- Divide the salmon into two portions, and brush on the miso sauce.
- Remove the woody stems from your asparagus, and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Cut two pieces of heavy-duty tin foil into sheets roughly twice the width of your salmon filets. Place the salmon skin side down, then 6 spears of asparagus each on top. Fold the foil over to cover the salmon, then fold over the edges 2-3 times to seal the packet.
- Bake the packets for 12-14 minutes.
- Remove the packets and cut them open, being careful of released steam.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
This article was written for WHN by Austin Lang who is the creator of The Medicare Diet column on MedicareInsurance.com, dedicated to promoting a healthy, sustainable diet for seniors living with a variety of conditions. He lives in Kissimmee, FL with his very patient partner, who is a much better cook than he is.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
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