We all know that we’re supposed to be eating a heart-healthy diet. We’ve all heard about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. But do we know why we should be eating heart-healthy? Here are a few simple tips on why and how to easy implement them into your lifestyle right now.
- Cut out/limit your daily salt in take. Did you know that cutting just a 1/2 tsp of salt daily can take pressure off of your heart? One of the simplest ways to cut back on your intake is to replace your salt shaker with a heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory spice shaker. Swap out salt for this combination of spices: tumeric, garlic powder, and coriander in equal amounts. Source
- Olive Oil. This oil is rich in the good fats like mono unsaturated fat—similar to avocados. Think about swapping your Ranch dressing with olive oil and vinegar on your next salad and you heart will thank you.
- Make friends with Fruits, Veggies and Nuts. Fruits: aim for at least 6 servings a day. Nuts and seeds are good sources of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Keep almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts on hand for a quick snack. Source
- Grape Seed Extract and Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient in a balanced diet that may help decrease heart disease risk for some people. Flavonoids and antioxidants can also help lower heart disease risk and are found in grape seed extract. Source
- Exercise. Just 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular activity can help decrease your risk of heart disease. This can be anything from walking after dinner, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking the dog, meet for a walk around the neighborhood instead of coffee. Work at a desk? Take walking breaks during the day!
- Shut down. “Sleep is when our body reboots and recovers. That’s important for all aspects of our health, not just the heart. When you’re asleep, your heart rate and blood pressure go down. That gives your heart a much-need break. Without it, you’re stressed and you’ll crave fuel from high-calorie foods—which, let’s face it, are not heart-healthy.” Source. So shut off those laptops, iPhones, iPads, etc and take a break. Your heart(and brain) will thank you.
Here is a simple heart-healthy recipe for you to try and tips on what makes it so heart-healthy.
- Peppers are low in calorie. One cup of chopped bell peppers is only 30 calories and is packed to the brim with nutrients and fiber. They also boost the health factor of any dish you cook them with. Bonus.
- Bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which is best for you because of the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- The capsaicin in bell peppers show that it reduces HDL or “bad” cholesterol, controls diabetes and brings relief from pain and eases inflammation.
- Bell peppers can boost your mineral levels by adding calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium to your meal. These minerals keep your brain functioning properly and help regulate your heart.
- Bell peppers are packed with vitamin A, B, C, E and K all of which support your body in a variety of functions from normal blood clotting to cellular respiration. Source.
Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (follow cooking directions)
- 4 bell peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded
- 1 small onion, diced
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup canned sweet corn, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced
- ½ teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 cups shredded, divided
- plain yogurt or light sour cream, for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350
- Place aluminum foil on baking dish with; arrange halved bell peppers in baking dish and set aside
- Heat olive oil over medium heat
- Add diced onions and season with salt; cook for 1-2 minutes, or until translucent
- Stir in sweet corn and beans; continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant
- Stir in tomatoes and cooked quinoa; season with chili powder, salt and pepper
- Add 1 cup cheese; mix well and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until everything is heated through and cheese is melted
- Remove from heat
- Divide mixture evenly between peppers, packing the quinoa mixture tightly into halved bell peppers
- Bake for 30 minutes
- Remove from oven and top each pepper with remaining cheese
- Put back in the oven and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted
- Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.
- Serve with a TBLsp plain yogurt or light sour cream
Do you have a heart-healthy recipe? How have you implemented a heart-healthy lifestyle? Share your tips below!