Valentine’s Day may have been a week ago but thats no excuse to stop showing your heart a little extra lovin’! February is American Heart Month by the American Heart Association so its the perfect time to stop and take a second to really think about your ticker. February isn’t just about reminding others how much we care about them; but taking some time to really take care of ourselves too!
So I decided to bring in the big guns for this post – I’m letting Ashley, RD, loose on you guys with a few important tips for loving our hearts so they can love us back. Especially for us ladies – heart disease is the #1 killer of women, with the right education and good nutrition we can take down those numbers and lead strong and healthy lives!
Show Your Heart Some Love this Valentine’s Day
A heart healthy diet emphasizes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources while limiting intake of unhealthy fats, cholesterol and sodium. Physical activity is also an essential part of a heart healthy regimen.
1. Cut back on cholesterol:
Foods high in cholesterol include eggs yolks, fatty meat, whole milk, cheese, shrimp, lobster and crab
2. Limit saturated fats and trans fats:
Includes fatty meats, poultry skin, bacon, sausage, whole milk, cream, butter, stick margarine, shortening, fried foods and packaged foods with hydrogenated oils. .
Instead of butter or stick margarine, try reduced-fat, whipped or liquid spreads.
3. Ditch the salt shaker:
Avoid processed foods like canned, frozen and snack foods; deli or cured meat, sausage and cheese.
Limit use of condiments, sauces and salt seasonings. Instead try lemon or lime juice, vinegar, peppers, hot sauce, herbs and spices.
4. Incorporate more omega-3 fats (good fat):
Found in salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. Aim to eat fish twice a week.
Also found in walnuts, canola oil, soybean oil, flaxseed oil and ground flaxseed.
5. Boost your Fiber Intake:
Aim for 20 to 30 gm per day
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Aim for 2 servings of fruit and 2.5 servings of vegetables.
6. Physical Activity:
Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: www.eatright.org
So to help you incorporate some heart healthy foods into your diet I decided to share one of my favorite salmon recipes! This recipe’s from Cooking Light and it is fab-u-lous! Warm, spicy maple syrup glazed salmon with a bright tomato-dill couscous – YUM! 20 minute meal (I’m not kidding), so even better for your heart! No stress, no fuss, just heart healthy goodness. Enjoy everyone! And have great weekends!!
You can easily make this a gluten free dish by subbing in quinoa or rice for the couscous and gluten free chicken stock
Yields 4 servings
For the Salmon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chile powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 (6-ounce) Alaskan salmon fillets
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
For the Tomato-Dill Couscous
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup uncooked couscous
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- Preheat broiler.
- Make the Couscous: Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan. Stir in couscous; sauté 1 minute. Add chicken broth and salt; bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in tomatoes, onion, and dill.
- Make the Salmon: Combine first 6 ingredients; rub spice mixture evenly over flesh side of fillets. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 6 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Brush fillets evenly with syrup; broil 1 minute. Serve each salmon filet over 3/4 cup couscous mixture.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
As always – nutrition questions or comments?? Tweet Ash at @AshleyMcGinnRD