Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Our area of Eastern North Carolina is known as the “belt buckle” of the highest rate of heart disease in the US. Given that name gives us even more reason to learn how you can prevent heart disease.
You can do a lot to protect your heart and stay healthy. Heart-healthy living involves understanding your risk, making healthy choices, and taking steps to reduce your chances of developing heart disease, including coronary heart disease, the most common type. By taking preventive measures, you can lower your risk of developing heart disease that can lead to a heart attack. You can also improve your overall health and well-being.
Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can help you reduce your risk of heart disease and its risk factors. Take steps to protect your heart by following these tips from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute;
Get enough quality sleep
Lack of sleep or getting poor quality sleep increases your risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease and other medical conditions. Ideally it is best to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions. Choose healthy foods, stay hydrated and aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
Be more active
Sufficient physical activity helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Sit less, try muscle-strengthening activities, or just be active for 10-20 minutes each day. Every little bit helps.
A flexible and balanced meal plan can help lower high blood pressure and improve cholesterol. Follow the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) eating plan. Mix in lean cuts of meat, eat fish once or twice a week and choose vegetables only two or three times a week.
Any amount of tobacco, even light or occasional smoking, damages the heart and blood vessels. Set a goal to smoke less and less until you reach your goal of not smoking.
Check your cholesterol
Unhealthy cholesterol levels can lead to high cholesterol, which increases the risk of developing heart disease.
Easier said than done, right? Learning to manage stress with affordable healthy strategies helps improve your emotional and physical health. Use relaxation and meditation methods. Try yoga.
Check your blood pressure
Keep your blood pressure in a healthy range and keep track of your numbers. Blood pressure that is consistently higher than 130/80 can cause serious health problems. Use a blood pressure tracker to keep a record of your numbers.
For more information visit hearttruth.gov
What makes a heart-healthy recipe?
Limiting saturated fats, such as butter, high-fat meats, coconut and palm oil, fried foods and full-fat dairy, no more than 7% of your calories should come from saturated fat.
Limited trans fats, such as processed foods that use high amounts of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils to increase shelf life. Trans fats have been banned from many foods.
Limit high sodium foods, these include salty foods, restaurants, and processed and packaged foods. These foods can worsen blood pressure. Keep your sodium intake below 2,3000 milligrams per day, especially if you’ve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Here are some Heart Healthy recipes for you to add to your weekly meal plans.
Onion and tomato omelette with turmeric
(Traffic is great for inflammation)
4 large eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
1 spoon of olive oil
¼ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
2 green onions, finely chopped
¼ cup diced plum or grape tomatoes
Pepper black pepper
Whisk together the eggs and salt.
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and turmeric; cook 30 seconds or until seeds pop, stirring frequently. Add onions; cook 30 seconds or until tender, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes; cook 1 minute or until very soft, stirring frequently.
Pour the egg mixture into the pan; spread evenly. Cook until edges begin to stick (about 2 minutes). Slide the front edge of the spatula between the edge of the omelette and the pan. Gently lift the edge of the omelet, tilting the pan to allow an uncooked egg mixture to come into contact with the pan. Repeat the procedure on the opposite end. Continue cooking until the center is set (about 2 minutes). Loosen the omelet with a spatula and fold in half. Carefully slide the omelet onto a plate. Cut the omelet in half and sprinkle with black pepper.
Serves 2, each serving contains; Calories 216, Fat 17 gr., Protein 13 gr., Carbohydrates 3g., Cholesterol 370mg., Sodium 504mg.
Mediterranean tuna salad
5 ounces packed tuna olive oil, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
½ stalk celery, chopped
1 finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour the tuna into a small mixing bowl. Use a fork to break up the tuna pieces into very small pieces.
Add the basil, celery, onions and lemon juice to the bowl. Use the fork to mix all the ingredients until well mixed.
Add extra virgin olive oil to moisten the tuna to your liking. I usually use 1 to 2 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper to taste; sea salt and freshly ground pepper is best. Serve it up.
Serves 2, each serving contains; Calories 209, Fat 12g., Protein 20g., Carbohydrates 1g., Cholesterol 12mg., Sodium 260mg.
Bake with chicken and asparagus
2.8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts
12 ounces baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved lengthwise (if you’re trying to cut carbs, omit these)
8 ounces carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
¾ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of chopped onion
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of honey
1 pound fresh asparagus, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the chicken on a clean work surface and cover with plastic wrap.
Using a meat mallet, shred chicken pieces to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Place on one half of a large rimmed baking sheet.
In the other half of the pan, arrange the potatoes and carrots in one layer.
Brush chicken and vegetables with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, shallots, mustard, honey, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Remove the pan from the oven; turn the oven to simmer.
Stir in the potato-carrot mixture; arrange the asparagus in the center of the pan.
Spoon the lemon juice and onion mixture evenly over the chicken and vegetables.
Simmer until the chicken and vegetables are lightly browned, the asparagus is tender, and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165°F, about 10 minutes.
Remove from oven; sprinkle evenly with parsley and dill. Serve with lemon wedges.
Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 352, Fat 14g., Protein 28g., Carbohydrates 31g.