The National Heart Foundation has warned of an increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease if the problem is not tackled. According to the Heart Foundation, good health is a matter of thinking about what you eat and making minor changes where needed.
Many favourite recipes can be made healthier simply by changing to a low-fat cooking method or by reducing, removing or substituting particular ingredients. (Cream, for example, can be substituted with evaporated skim milk; sour cream with low-fat yoghurt or buttermilk.)
One in two Americans has a blood cholesterol reading higher than that recommended by the foundation. Too much cholesterol in the blood causes fatty deposits to build up in blood vessels and may eventually block them, leading to a heart attack.
The key to lowering blood cholesterol levels is to eat a low-fat cardiac diet consisting mainly of bread, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, grains, vegetables, fruit and legumes (beans and lentils). Lean meat and poultry, low-fat dairy products, fish, nuts and seeds can be eaten in moderate amounts. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated margarine and oil, sugar, alcohol and salt should be consumed only in small amounts.
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can be found in some oils and margarines, nuts and seeds. Neither raise cholesterol levels and they can actually help lower them if your meals are low in saturated fat. However, they are high in calories.
Eliminating fatty foods from the heart-healthy diet makes room for healthy carbohydrates such as bread, cereals, pasta, rice, legumes, fruit and vegetables. Many of these are high in fiber which can help lower cholesterol.
Here are 5 cardiac diet recipes for a stronger heart.
Soup of Pasta and Beans
- 2 tspn olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 – 2 tspn dried chilli flakes
- 800 g can tomatoes, no added salt, pureed
- 2 tbsp tomato paste, no added salt
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 375 g spaghetti, broken into 6cm pieces
- 2 x 400 g can borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Heat oil in large, heavy-based pan, add garlic and onion, stir one minute. Add chilli flakes, pureed tomatoes, tomato paste and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium, add spaghetti and cook six to eight minutes or until just tender. Add more stock if needed. Stir through beans and basil, heat one to two minutes more. Sprinkle with cheese and serve with crusty bread. Serves 6.
Note: any vegetables can be added to this recipe. Try chopped zucchini and capsicum for a minestrone-style soup.
Baked Fish with Walnut and Fresh Coriander Sauce
- 1 whole snapper, scaled and gutted, weighing 3kg including head, or 6 fillets snapper
- 2 tspn freshly ground pepper
- 2 tspn freshly ground cumin
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- juice of 2 lemons
- 375 g walnut pieces
- 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 cups chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tspn hot paprika
- ½ cup warm water
- juice of 2 lemons or more to taste
- extra coriander to garnish
Preheat oven to 200°C. Sprinkle fish with pepper and cumin, brush with olive oil and lemon juice. Bake until just cooked — 20 to 30 minutes for a whole fish, up to 10 minutes for fillets. Transfer to a serving dish and cool to room temperature.
Sauce: blend walnuts to a creamy paste and scrape into a bowl.
Heat the oil in a small pan. Add garlic, coriander and paprika and cook until the oil sizzles, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add to the walnut paste along with water and lemon juice to make a sauce of napping consistency where it coats the back of a spoon.
Spread the sauce over the fish, garnishing with extra coriander and lemon wedges. Serve at room temperature. Serves 6.
Sauternes Cake with Plums and Blueberries
- 5 eggs, separated, plus 2 egg whites
- 175 g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon and orange zest, mixed
- 150 g plain flour, sifted
- ½ cup sweet dessert wine
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 x 400 g can plums (or poach your own)
- 1 punnet blueberries
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- low-fat natural yoghurt to serve
Preheat oven to 190°C and lightly grease a 20 cm springform cake tin. Combine egg yolks and sugar and beat until light and creamy. Add zest and set mixture aside.
Add flour gradually to the creamed sugar mixture, beating continually until mixture is well combined. Slowly and carefully add wine and olive oil. Beat the seven egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture.
Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 170°C and bake for a further 20-30 minutes. Turn off the oven, cover the cake with baking paper and allow to rest in the closed oven for 10 minutes (the cake will sink as it cools).
Remove from the oven, run a spatula around tin and turn out. Place plums and blueberries in a bowl. Add lemon juice. Serve cake with plums and blueberries, and a good dollop of yoghurt. Serves 8 to 10.
Vietnamese Pork with Lemongrass
- 2 green shallots, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 800 g lean pork fillet, thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 stem fresh lemongrass, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1½ tbsp caster sugar
- 1 small fresh red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cornflour
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
Place shallots in heatproof bowl. Heat oil in non-stick pan or wok and spoon 1 tsp of the oil over shallots in bowl. Mix well. Add pork in batches to remaining oil in pan and stir-fry until tender.
Remove from pan. Add onion to pan, stir fry until soft. Return pork to pan with lemongrass, fish sauce, sugar, chilli and blended cornflour and water. Stir fry until mixture boils and thickens. Serve pork sprinkled with shallot mixture and peanuts. Serve 6.
Spicy and Sour Crab Nonya Style
- 5 Spanish onions
- 10 shallots
- 10 cloves garlic
- 3 cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
- 1 tbsp sambal oelek
- 2 crabs (about 1 kg)
- one-quarter cup rice wine
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
- quarter cup thick, sweet Chinese vinegar
- 2 tbsp kecap manis
- sugar to taste
- garlic chives and sliced green onions
Process Spanish onion, shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and sambal oelek in a food processor until well combined. Clean crabs, removing carapace and soft tissue to leave meat exposed, and scrub shells clean. Slice bodies in halves and crack claws slightly. Heat wok until hot. Add half wine and swirl gently for 2 mins over high heat to coat surface.
Pour off wine, add oil to pan and heat to hot. Add onion paste and stir-fry until aromatic and golden. Add crabs, remaining wine, vinegar, kecap manis, one cup water and sugar and quickly bring to boil.
Cook over high heat until crabs change colour. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 mins or until sauce reduces a little. Garnish with chives. Serves 4.
This post was written by IndianJMedSci.org