Healthy Heart Hacks

Healthy Heart Hacks

by Jan 30, 2022Blog, Home Blogs1 comment

Annie smiled as she heard the two-spotted owls in the Palo Verde tree hooting in preparation for the night’s hunt. She stepped onto the patio and looked up just in time to see the first one followed by the other flying past the first full moon of the new year.

LJ glanced up from his meal prep and quietly called, “checking out Mr. and Mrs. Owl again?”

Annie nodded as she came back into the house, “they are so beautiful. I am happy they live in our backyard; they help keep the rodent population away from our fruit and veggie gardens. Speaking of food, whatcha cooking? It smells so good.”

“Thanks, I want us to be strong throughout our lives, so from now on, I am only cooking heart-healthy meals,” LJ said. “A poor diet causes bad cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, obesity, and stress, all leading to heart disease.” He continued, “on the other hand, a daily healthy diet leading to longevity includes whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, preferably plant-based dairy and protein, nuts, legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils.”

When you say whole fruits and vegetables, you mean eating it in its original form, right?”

LJ nodded, “yes, eat a whole orange; for example, that way, you get all its vitamins, nutrients, and fiber, which supports gut health and leaves you feeling fuller longer. Eat the celery stalk because you are consuming all its healthy benefits. Tonight we are having Mushroom Shwarma with Yogurt-Tahini sauce. I used a delicious vegan Greek yogurt made by Forager Project in this recipe. Eating dairy-free yogurt is shown to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. For dessert, we’ll have a Mug Brownie. It’s a chocolaty treat in a mug that takes minutes to make. I’m using chocolate with an 80% cocoa content because it contains higher amounts of flavonols known to help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart.”

Annie took their plated food to the table, “for people who eat primarily plant-based, there are many options that support a healthy heart diet. For example, legumes are a high-fiber, low-fat protein with no cholesterol and high amounts of folate, iron, and magnesium. Soy, like meat protein, contains nearly all the essential proteins the body needs making it a complete protein. A great busy day dinner would be TofuTacos, which includes spicy tofu and hearty black beans; both are low-glycemic, help avoid blood sugar spikes and contribute to weight loss. I also like Vegan Cauliflower Fettuccine Alfredo with Kale. This recipe uses cashew nuts that boost HDL (good) cholesterol levels and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. And cashews help lower blood pressure too.”

“I’m nuts for nuts too,” laughed LJ, but the best way to support a healthy diet is to combine it with daily exercise. The goal should be to use as many calories as you eat every day. Fatsecret and Noom are programs with an easy-to-use food diary and exercise log. Both track calories and exercise.”

 

“Good point, LJ, and let’s not forget managing stress as it relates to heart health. Chronic spiking blood sugar due to poor food choices increases cortisol, the stress hormone. Foods that are a part of the Mediterranean diet maintain steady blood sugar levels and help metabolize cortisol.”

 

“All good info, Annie, with a healthy heart the beat goes on, so let’s summarize; heart health is supported by a whole-body approach that includes:

  • The Mediterranean or mainly plant-based diet
  • Eliminating processed foods and sugar
  • Eating healthy fats such as non-tropical vegetable oils,
  • Managing weight, diabetes, and high blood pressure
  • Daily movement and exercise
  • Meditation

 

 

Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.

 

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