February is Heart Disease Awareness Month! – Which means there is no better time to start a heart healthy diet. Heart health is vitally important. Our cardiovascular system delivers nutrients, oxygen, hormones, and other substances to the cells in our body. It also plays an important role in helping the body meet the demands of exercise, stress, body temperature regulation and more. The foods we consume can and do affect our heart–and being mindful of our diet is the first step we can take in supporting our cardiovascular health.
Focusing mainly on a Mediterranean style diet is a great place to begin when it comes to heart health. At the forefront of this diet are foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, olive oil and some whole grains. Those following the Mediterranean diet tend to consume proteins that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. Full-fat dairy products, such cheese and milk are rotated only a few times per week. Other meat proteins such as chicken, turkey and beef are eaten less frequently. Moderate alcohol consumption, such as a glass of wine at dinnertime is also accepted on this diet.
Protein: Fatty fish, (salmon, sardines, mackerel etc.) some chicken and turkey and occasionally sources of red meat such as grass fed beef and lamb.
Carbohydrates: Whole and unprocessed fruits and starchy vegetables (sweet potato, potatoes, winter squash, cassava plantains, berries, figs, pomegranates etc.
Vegetables: Broccoli, brussels sprouts, zucchini, tomato, onion, garlic, leafy greens, artichoke, asparagus etc.
Fats: Olive oil, avocado oil, olives, avocado, fatty fish, and some full fat dairy (milk, cream, butter, cheese)
Heart Healthy Diet: Recipes
Roasted Beet Salad w/ Goat Cheese and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
- ~5 medium beets, roasted and cubed
- ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- Balsamic Vinaigrette (Or glaze) (To Taste)
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Begin by poking some holes in your beets with a fork or knife and loosely wrapping them in some aluminum foil.
- Place the wrapped beets on a baking sheet and put them into the oven.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes or until fork tender.
- Once the beets are finished baking, allow them to cool and then peel off the skin.
- Chop the beets into bite sized cubes.
- Next, add the beets to a serving bowl, along with the toasted pumpkin seeds and crumbled goat cheese.
- Lastly, drizzle some balsamic vinegar or glaze on top of the beet salad. Toss to combine.
Red Velvet and Cherry Smoothie
- 1 ripe, frozen banana, peeled
- ⅛ cup frozen cubed beets, (Can be raw or cooked)
- ⅛ cup frozen cherries, pitted
- 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
- 1 pitted date
- ½-1 cup unsweetened dairy free milk of choice (Plus more as needed)
- ½ tsp of vanilla extract
- Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Feel free to adjust liquid as needed.
Dark Chocolate Covered Berry Pomegranate Chia Jam Bites
- 1.5 cups frozen raspberries or strawberries (Or a mixture of both)
- 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
- 1 tsp. Stevia or monk fruit sweetener (With no added sugar alcohols)
- 2 tbsp. Chia seeds
- ½ pomegranate gems
- 300 g dark (70% or more) chocolate
- 1.5 tbsp. Coconut oil
- Begin by heating your berries in a saucepan with the lemon or lime juice and maple syrup.
- Mash the berries until they are soft and then remove from the heat.
- Transfer the berries into a dish and store away in the fridge overnight.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate with the coconut oil and consistently stir to avoid burning.
- Pour the chocolate into the bottom portion of silicon peanut butter cup molds.
- Place into the freezer to solidify.
- Next, add roughly a tbsp. of the berry chia jam on top of the chocolate.
- Pour the remaining chocolate over the jam and place into the fridge to solidify.
Mediterranean Style Dijon Salmon
- 1.5 pounds of wild caught salmon
- ⅓ cup of Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. of olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 tbsp. of lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. Capers
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the salmon with the skin side down on the baking sheet.
- Next, in a bowl, mix the dijon mustard, olive oil or avocado oil, lemon juice, salt, dill, garlic and capers.
- With a silicon brush, brush the salmon with the mixture until completely coated.
- Top the fish with some lemon slices.
- Place the salmon in the oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes, depending on your desired doneness and thickness of the fish.
- Serve with veggies and some rice.
Interested in a customized plan for your heart health journey? Check out our nutrition services at Five Journeys! (P.S. You DO NOT need to be a member to see one of our Functional Nutritionists)