Beta carotene, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for keeping your heart healthy. Here's a collection of recipes packed with those essential nutrients to keep your ticker ticking strong.
According to research, your heart benefits the most from omega-3s, found in fish such as cod, salmon, and tuna, as well as nuts. DHA and EPA can lower triglycerides, help prevent a second heart attack, and if you have high blood pressure may lower it slightly. This recipe can also help lower your cholesterol.
Beta-carotene supports heart health, according to the results of the Physicians' Health Study, conducted by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School on more than 15,000 male physicians. Those who ate at least two and a half servings of vegetables daily were far less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who consumed less than one serving each day.
For sweetness and color (as well as beta carotene), carrots have been added. Traditional latkes are deep-fried in oil, but these lighter latkes are panfried, then finished in a hot oven until they are crispy. Also, plain yogurt makes a healthy stand-in for a standard accompaniment, sour cream.
This breakfast alternative starts with carrot juice, a valuable source of beta carotene, which many juicing enthusiasts believe is best absorbed on an empty stomach. Frozen mango lends the smoothie its sweetness and smooth texture while adding vitamins B6, C, and E.
Soluble fiber reduces the risk of heart disease by blocking cholesterol and fats from being absorbed through the wall of the intestines into the bloodstream. Increasing daily soluble fiber intake can reduce LDL cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent. Good bets include psyllium seeds, oatmeal, barley, citrus fruits, brussels sprouts, and legumes such as lima and kidney beans.
Look for omega-3-rich flax meal alongside the flaxseeds in your natural-foods store -- or grind your own. Once opened, store flax in the refrigerator. Since milk contains saturated fat, we chose to cook the high-fiber barley with almond milk instead.
Small and mighty, these baby cabbages cleanse the body and may help prevent cancer. And pecans contain more antioxidants than any other common nut.
Although walnuts boast heart-healthy oil like most nuts, they have an added edge. Most nut oil is monounsaturated, but walnuts primarily contain the polyunsaturated variety. In fact, they're the only nuts -- and one of the few foods -- that offer appreciable amounts of a crucial type of polyunsaturated fat called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid. ALA protects the heart in several ways: It improves your ratio of HDL (good) to LDL (bad) cholesterol, and it reduces inflammation, helping to block the conversion of cholesterol into harmful, artery-clogging plaque.
Flavor aside, kale holds its own among fellow members of the Brassica family, including broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi. The low-calorie green provides an excellent source of both vitamins A (as beta-carotene) and C, along with a decent amount of fiber. Kale also delivers vitamin B6, which helps maintain healthy nervous and immune systems, as well as iron and calcium.