Heart Month: Nutritionist tips on foods with our heart in mind

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SEATTLE, Wash.,-- Finding heart healthy foods can be intimidating. Nutritionist Deborah Enos takes some of the guesswork out and breaks down some simple things we can add to our diet with our heart in mind.

 

From Nutritionist Deborah Enos:

"I lost my dad to heart disease in August of 2016.

Part of my mission as a nutritionist is to show people how easy it can be to prevent this deadly disease. I want to help people avoid what my dad went through…

1. In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.

2. Every year, about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack.

3. 605,000 are a first heart attack

4. 200,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack.

5. About 1 in 5 heart attacks is silent—the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.

6. One person dies every 37 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.

7. About 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

(CDC stats)

It’s not just about cutting out unhealthy habits, it’s also about adding in some foods that will support your heart health.

Three small habits to try:

1. Learn to cook seafood:

Seafood is not only a good source of protein, but also a great source of omega­3 fatty acids, which have shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The Seafood Nutrition Partnership, citing the American Heart Association, advises eating at least two servings of seafood per week for enough omega­3s and nutrients to show improved health. In particular, fatty fish such as salmon, trout, pollock, barramundi, mackerel, herring, sardines and albacore tuna have the highest amounts of the heart healthy nutrients that help prevent cardiovascular disease.

When selecting fish, whether fresh, frozen or canned, look for the MSC blue fish label to know you’re choosing sustainable seafood that’s good for you and good for the ocean. The MSC is a global nonprofit dedicated to protecting wild seafood for generations to come. By taking the simple step to look for the MSC label when purchasing seafood, you can help protect oceans from overfishing, support fishermen and fishing communities, and promote traceability — from the ocean to your delicious seafood dish.

2. Don’t be afraid of fat.

Not all fats are created equal. With all the fad diets that come and go, the Mediterranean diet continues to top nutritionists' lists of best plans for healthy eating. It's also been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The most commonly used fat in the Mediterranean diet is olive oil, which is great for salad dressings or drizzling on top of roasted veggies. Other healthy fats come from the foods themselves, like the unsaturated fats found in fish, nuts, seeds or avocados.

3. Eat more plants.

You've probably heard a lot about plant­based eating recently. That's because of the growing awareness of both the health and the environmental benefits of focusing a larger portion of your diet on plants. Including a wider range of differently colored fruits and vegetables — plus nuts, seeds, beans and legumes — will give you the greatest nutritional benefits.

Plants offer tons of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber — and many contain more protein than you might expect. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating more plant­based proteins is associated with lower heart disease risk in middle-aged adults. Consider adding more beans and lentils (legumes) to your food plan. Most experts recommend ½ cup of beans three times/week.

Here’s my version of the PCC perfect protein salad:

Ingredients

· 2 (14-ounce) cans S & W 50% less sodium garbanzo beans

· 1 English cucumber – peeled, seeded and diced

· 1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeds removed and diced

· 4-5 ribs celery, diced

· 2 carrot, peeled and diced

· 1/4 red onion, diced

· 1/2 bunch green onions, diagonally sliced

· 1/3 bunch parsley, chopped (about ½ cup)

· The dressing:

· 2/3 cup mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise)

· 2 tablespoons lemon juice

· 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

· 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

· 1 teaspoon salt

· 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

· 1 tablespoon minced garlic

Preparation

In a large bowl mix together garbanzo beans, diced cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, carrots, red onions, green onions and chopped parsley.

Mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, salt, basil and garlic; pour over salad, mixing well.

This salad is great on its own or as side dish-it only gets better as it sits in the fridge!"

For more information, CLICK HERE to visit Deborah's website!

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