oatmeal-heart

Oatmeal

Start your day with a steaming bowl of oats, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich superfood can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear.

Opt for coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties—which contain more fiber—and top your bowl off with a banana for another 4 grams of fiber.

Try this recipe: Chai Oatmeal

Chai Oatmeal

“Rolled oats simmered in sweet, spice-infused milk make an exquisite breakfast cereal,”Katzen notes. Oat bran not only boosts the fiber, it also makes the oatmeal creamy and thick.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups 2% or whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons honey, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • 3/4 cup regular (not quick-cooking) oats
  • 2 tablespoons oat bran, optional

Preparation

Combine the milk, salt, and spices in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly; add the honey, vanilla (if desired), oats, and bran (if desired), and stir until combined. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the oatmeal is thick and creamy. Serve hot with additional honey to taste.

Next: Salmon

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Salmon

Super-rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can effectively reduce blood pressure and keep clotting at bay. Aim for two servings per week, which may reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third.

“Salmon contains the carotenoid astaxanthin, which is a very powerful antioxidant,” says cardiologist  Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, the author of Lower Your Blood Pressure In Eight Weeks. But be sure to choose wild salmon over farm-raised fish, which can be packed with insecticides, pesticides, and heavy metals.

Not a fan of salmon? Other oily fish like mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines will give your heart the same boost.

Try this recipe: Salmon Scallopini with Almond Orzo

Salmon Scallopini with Almond Orzo

Salmon Scallopini with Almond Orzo

 

Health Note

Almonds and salmon are a great source of healthy fats, and almonds help you feel fuller longer. Try using SmartBalance instead of butter to cut back on unhealthy saturated fat.

Ingredients

  • Orzo
  • Butter
  • Sliced almonds
  • 1 (7-ounce) salmon fillet, cut into 1/4-inch-wide slices
  • Lemon juice
  • Drained capers

Preparation

Cook 1/2 cup orzo according to package directions; drain, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brown 2 tablespoons almonds; set aside. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Sauté on both sides until done. Divide orzo and salmon between 2 plates. Add reserved liquid to skillet with 2 tablespoons juice and 1 tablespoon capers. Bring to a boil. Stir in 3 teaspoons butter and almonds. Spoon over plates.

Next: Avocado

avocado-heart

Avocado

Add a bit of avocado to a sandwich or spinach salad to up the amount of heart-healthy fats in your diet. Packed with monounsaturated fat, avocados can help lower LDL levels while raising the amount of HDL cholesterol in your body.

“Avocados are awesome,” says Dr. Sinatra. “They allow for the absorption of other carotenoids—especially beta-carotene and lycopene—which are essential for heart health.”

Try this recipe: Shrimp, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad

Shrimp, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad

Shrimp, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups red grapefruit sections (about 2 grapefruits)
  • 3/4 pound large shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups slivered romaine lettuce hearts
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cubed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

Preparation

Combine grapefruit sections and shrimp in a medium bowl, and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together grapefruit juice, oil, salt, pepper, and sugar.

Place the lettuce in a large bowl, and drizzle with dressing, tossing gently to coat; divide among 4 plates. Divide shrimp mixture, avocado, and chives among salads

Olive oil

Full of monounsaturated fats, olive oil lowers bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of developing heart disease.

Results from the Seven Countries Study, which looked at cardiovascular disease incidences across the globe, showed that while men in Crete had a predisposition for high cholesterol levels, relatively few died of heart disease because their diet focused on heart-healthy fats found in olive oil. Look for extra-virgin or virgin varieties—they’re the least processed—and use them instead of butter when cooking.

Try this recipe: Shrimp With Garlic in Olive Oil

olive-oil

Olive oil

Full of monounsaturated fats, olive oil lowers bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of developing heart disease.

Results from the Seven Countries Study, which looked at cardiovascular disease incidences across the globe, showed that while men in Crete had a predisposition for high cholesterol levels, relatively few died of heart disease because their diet focused on heart-healthy fats found in olive oil. Look for extra-virgin or virgin varieties—they’re the least processed—and use them instead of butter when cooking.

Try this recipe: Shrimp With Garlic in Olive Oil

Shrimp With Garlic in Olive Oil

Shrimp With Garlic in Olive Oil

Serve this shrimp recipe with lemon wedges and crusty bread to sop up the delicious juices from the pan.

Prep: 5 minutes; Cook: 2 minutes

 

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 dried chile pepper, coarsely chopped, or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled small shrimp, or large shrimp, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • 12 small pieces crusty bread (Italian-style)
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Preparation

1. Combine the olive oil, garlic, and chile pepper in a 10- to 12-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, and turn heat to medium. When the garlic begins to sizzle and turn golden, add the shrimp. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp just turn pink and opaque, 2-4 minutes.

2. Stir in salt, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately, directly from the pan, with lemon wedges and bread.

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Nuts

Walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids and, along with almonds and macadamia nuts, are loaded with mono- and polyunsaturated fat. Plus, nuts increase fiber in the diet, says Dr. Sinatra. “And like olive oil, they are a great source of healthy fat.”

Try this recipe: Honey-Glazed Marcona Almonds

Honey-Glazed Marcona Almonds

Prep: 3 minutes; Cook: 4 minutes.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (such as Maldon)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 pound blanched Marcona almonds

Preparation

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray.

2. Warm the honey over low heat until it bubbles, about 30 seconds.

3. Add cinnamon, cardamom, and curry, if using; stir. While the honey mixture is bubbling, add the butter. Stir until mixed, about 1 minute.

4. Add almonds to the pan and stir quickly to coat with honey mixture.

5. Let almonds cool completely on baking sheet. Store in an airtight container.

Next: Berries

berries

Berries

Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries—whatever berry you like best—are full of anti-inflammatories, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

“Blackberries and blueberries are especially great,” says Sinatra. “But all berries are great for your vascular health.”

Try this recipe: Angelic Berry Trifle

Prep: 15 minutes; Refrigerate: 1 hour or more. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries all rank in the top 20 of the government’s list of antioxidant-rich foods. Great for your heart and full of fiber, almonds can help keep you at a healthy weight.

Ingredients

  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk, divided
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 2 (16-ounce) packages frozen mixed berries, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 8 ounces angel food cake, cut in 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, divided

Preparation

1. Make the pudding according to package directions, using 2 cups low-fat milk. Refrigerate until ready to assemble trifle.

2. Place remaining 2 tablespoons milk and cream cheese in a bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to assemble trifle.

3. Toss berries with sugar; set aside.

4. Place cream in a bowl, and beat with cold beaters on high speed until stiff peaks form; refrigerate.

5. Place half the berries on the bottom of a straight-sided 2- or 3-quart clear dish. Top the berries with half the angel food cake slices, overlapping slightly.

6. Stir the pudding and cream cheese mixtures together, and gently fold in whipped cream. Pour 2 cups pudding mixture over cake, and top with 1/4 cup almonds. Use the remaining cake to form another layer, and top it with the remaining berries. Pour the remaining pudding mixture over the berries, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup almonds. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours.

Next: Legum

legumes

Legumes

Fill up on fiber with lentils, chickpeas, and black and kidney beans. They’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fiber.

Try this recipe: Triple Bean Salad

Triple Bean Salad

“This salad was inspired by a dish served in a small sandwich shop that my husband and I used to frequent. We loved it so much that I tried my best to re-create it. It can be served as a side dish or over a bed of lettuce as a light lunch.” –CL Reader

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together vinegar, oil, pepper, juice, and salt; pour over bean mixture, stirring to coat. Cover and chill.

Next: Spinach

spinach

Spinach

Spinach can help keep your ticker in top shape thanks to its stores of lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber.

But upping your servings of any veggies is sure to give your heart a boost.  The Physicians’ Health Study examined more than 15,000 men without heart disease for a period of 12 years. Those who ate at least two-and-a-half servings of vegetables each day cut their risk of heart disease by about 25%, compared with those who didn’t eat the veggies. Each additional serving reduced risk by another 17%.

Try this recipe: Seasoned Spinach

Seasoned Spinach

Seasoned Spinach

You will need to steam the raw spinach in two batches, since there is so much of it. Combining the cool ingredients with your hands is easiest.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 (10-ounce) packages fresh spinach, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Preparation

Steam half of spinach, covered, for 5 minutes or until the spinach wilts; place steamed spinach in a colander. Repeat procedure with remaining spinach. Cool slightly, and squeeze dry.

Place spinach in a bowl. Add onions and remaining ingredients; toss mixture well to combine. Serve chilled or at room te

Next: Flaxeed

flaxseed

Flaxseed

Full of fiber and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, a little sprinkling of flaxseed can go a long way for your heart. Top a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal with a smidgen of ground flaxseed for the ultimate heart-healthy breakfast.

Try this recipe: Hearty Multigrain Bread

Hearty Multigrain Bread

Hearty Multigrain Bread

For more great recipes go to MyRecipes.com

Ingredients

  • Dough:
  • 1 2/3 cups fat-free milk
  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour, divided
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons dark molasses
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons uncooked millet
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • Topping:
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon uncooked millet
  • 1 teaspoon quick-cooking oats

Preparation

To prepare dough, cook 1 2/3 cups milk in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat. Combine 2/3 cup oats, wheat germ, and cornmeal in a large bowl; stir in scalded milk. Cool until warm (100° to 110°).

Lightly spoon whole-wheat flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1 1/2 cups wheat flour and yeast in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to milk mixture; stir well to combine. Add water and next 7 ingredients (through salt) to milk mixture; stir until well blended.

Lightly spoon all-purpose flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour and 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour to milk mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; let rest 5 minutes. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide in half. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), roll each portion into a 13- x 7-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Roll up each rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Place each roll, seam side down, in an 8- x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare topping, combine 1 tablespoon milk and egg in a small bowl; brush over loaves. Combine flaxseed, poppy seeds, millet, and 1 teaspoon oats in a bowl; srinkle seed mixture over loaves.

Bake at 375º for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º and bake 20 minutes or until loaves are browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on wir

Next: Soy

soy

Soy

Soy may lower cholesterol, and since it is low in saturated fat, it’s still a great source of lean protein in a heart-healthy diet.

Look for natural sources of soy, like edamame, tempeh, or organic silken tofu. And soy milk is a great addition to a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. But watch the amount of salt in your soy: some processed varieties like soy dogs can contain added sodium, which boosts blood pressure.

Try this recipe: Edamame Couscous

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 3/4 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Bring 1 cup of water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the edamame, and cook 30 seconds. Stir in the couscous and the remaining ingredients. Remove the mixture from the heat, cover it tightly with a lid or aluminum foil, and let it stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serve