Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” He may have said it centuries ago, but the idea definitely still rings true. A heart-healthy diet is one of the easiest ways to help prevent cardiovascular disease, but it doesn’t mean a lifetime of boring, bland food. From leafy, green vegetables to nutrient-packed nuts and berries, “heart foods” offer delectable flavours and versatile dishes.
Here are ten simple, healthy meals that pack a big punch when it comes to improving cardiovascular health—perfect to share with a loved one this Valentines Day.
1. Grilled salmon and vegetables
With its rich, omega-3 fatty acids, salmon helps lower blood pressure and triglycerides. Pair it with roasted vegetables like zucchini and squash for an added heart boost.
2. Tilapia with fruit salsa
Tilapia is another powerhouse of the sea, thanks to its low fat and high protein content. Its mild flavour pairs well with the tanginess of a pineapple and mango salsa-- both of which have anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Vegetable burrito bowl
By skipping the high-carb tortilla and adding burritos ingredients to a bowl or lettuce wrap, all of the fibre-rich nutrition of the brown rice and beans is preserved without the added starch. Mixing in a rainbow of fresh vegetables boosts heart-healthy benefits and adds extra flavou
4. Chicken and broccoli
A simple stir fry of low-fat chicken breast and broccoli florets is the perfect combination of high protein and sulforaphane, which has been linked to better blood vessel health. Use low-sodium soy sauce to avoid excess salt.
5. Seafood-stuffed avocadoes
Avocados, with their healthy, monounsaturated fat, are a filling and flavourful base for tuna or crab salad made with light mayonnaise or Greek yogurt. Mix in plenty of tomatoes for some cholesterol-fighting lycopene and onions to fight inflammation.
6. Pan-grilled chicken and asparagus
Grill chicken instead of frying it to preserve all of the flavour and juiciness, without all of the excess fat and grease. Add a side of grilled asparagus, for its heart-boosting folates and vitamins A, C, and K. Before serving, sprinkle the spears with lemon pepper for added zest.
7. Fish tacos
For a twist on a traditional favourite, swap out the ground beef in tacos with a seasoned, grilled fish. It cuts down on fat and artery-clogging grease while adding balance to the spice of traditional ingredients like jalapeno peppers and chilis.
8. Vegetarian chilli
Beans are high in fibre, low in saturated fat, and one of the most versatile ingredients around when it comes to soups and chilli. Try switching meat with black, pinto and garbanzo beans for rich, hearty chilli that is packed with vitamins and minerals.
9. Black beans and brown rice
For a fast, healthy meal, black beans and brown rice are high in fibre, low in saturated fat and can be seasoned to please any palette.
10. Turkey burgers
Heart-healthy ground turkey makes an excellent substitute for ground beef. Form it into patties and grill it with onions and traditional burger add-ons for a juicy burger with a fraction of the fat and cholesterol.
Healthy eating doesn’t equal boring eating. With a bit of creativity and planning, heart-conscious foods can replace their artery-clogging counterparts for a delicious, versatile diet that everyone will enjoy.
We hope you are inspired to make your next meal one that is good for your heart. Remember, cooking can bring you and your loved ones joy, so make sure to share one of these delicous and nutrition-packed meals with someone special this month.
Have a healthy Heart Month and a very happy Valentines Day from iHeart Internal Age™!