Valentines day is around the corner and I thought as February is known to be the month of love it definitely is appropriate to focus on the "heart". Not in a corny kind of way but rather becoming aware of how vital it is to look after yourself. I truly love this quote and it speaks for itself: " Our health is our greatest wealth"
Looking after our health is so important and the earlier that sinks in the less problems and illnesses we will have to deal with.
Everyone wants to share their lives with their loved ones and Valentines day may be corny but it is a day set apart to celebrate love.
So let us focus on a few tips with regards to loving your heart and how this can be achieved through diet.
The heart is a vital organ which starts functioning before birth and stops the day we pass away. So looking after it is I would say is a very big deal!
Cholesterol and high blood pressure can definitely add a lot of extra pressure on the pumping of this vital organ so in order to reduce high blood pressure the main culprit to start limiting is salt in the diet which includes spices, powered sauces, soup powders, stock and processed and canned foods. Ways to naturally flavor dishes includes lemon juice, herbs(dried/fresh), vinegar, pepper, mustard, garlic etc.
Cholesterol is build up of fat in the arteries. And by reducing on high saturated fat in the diet it will definitely assist in reducing the risk of developing cholesterol and even lowering it.
Saturated fats is basically the bad fats which originates from animal products ie. butter, cream, fat on meat, chicken skin, full cream dairy products. Whilst the good fats such as plant sources ie. avo, nuts, seeds, plant oils will help to reduce the bad cholesterol.
In order to make sure the good cholesterol in our bodies are at an adequate level it is important to include oily dark skinned fish in our diets such as tuna, sardines, pilchards, herring and salmon twice a week as the Omega 3 content assist with raising our good cholesterol and lowering the bad cholesterol levels.
A great tip for those who are celebrating Valentines day is to include a glass of red wine with a romantic dinner and some dark chocolate as dessert perhaps as both these will also assist in raising the good cholesterol and lowering the bad cholesterol.
Fruits and veg are recommended to be eaten daily for good health and definitely also for the treatment of high cholesterol.
The anti-oxidants found in fruits and veg assists in repairing damage in the arteries where cholesterol build-up is present. And of course the high fiber content also assists with lowering bad cholesterol.
So in a nutshell - take care of yourself and love your heart by following a balanced diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, and sleeping enough every night.
Recipes for Valentines dinner:
4 boneless salmon fillets
2 cloves garlic, minced (or use jarred)
1.5 cups grape tomatoes
1,5 cups diced zucchini
4 spring (green) onions, diced,
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper
4 tablespoons of feta cheese
handful of fresh basil, chopped
olives, white navy beans, chickpeas, red bell pepper
tin foil sprayed with olive oil - 4 sheets
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Combine tomatoes, zucchini, onions, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
Place salmon on separate foil pieces and spoon mixture over top. Fold each foil piece into a slight tented but tightly sealed packet.
Place foil on oven racks and bake for 20 minutes. (may require longer if salmon is particularly thick) Let sit for 5 minutes.
Open packets (careful, they are hot!) and garnish with feta cheese and basil and serve immediately