Food Love: Heart Healthy Goodies For Your Body


Your stomach may get all the goodies, but it’s your heart that deserves only the very best when it comes to food.  According to multiple studies, diets play a big part in heart disease. They can either add to the problem or keep it at bay.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States and it’s important to note this statistic because a majority of women tend to be in control of the household menu. Hence, changing the grocery list will change the way you eat, and ultimately change the way you live your life.

Read on for our top heart healthy foods, tips and recipes for eating better, and other resources to keep your heart happy and strong:

Top Heart-Friendly Foods

    1. Whole Grains – dietary fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, lowering the risk for heart disease. In general, fibers give you the feeling of being full, helping with weight management and food intake.
      • Ex: Whole grain bread, whole grain cereal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain crackers, or popped popcorn.
      • Tip: Eat 25 grams of fiber each day
    2. Beans – the soluble fiber in these babies help bind cholesterol and keep it from being absorbed in the gut. They also contain flavonoids, that stop the adhesion of platelets in the blood, lowering risk of heart attack and strokes.
      • Tip: Eat 1/2 cup of cooked beans
    3. Veggies – Being high in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in fat and calories, a rainbow of these earthly goods will help maintain your blood pressure.
      • Ex: Deeply colored fruits and veggies like spinach, berries, carrots. To get your sugar cravings fulfilled, eat apples, strawberries, bananas.
      • Tip: Challenge yourself to eat 3 colors of the rainbow a day. Eat 4.5 cups of fruits and veggies per day.
    4. Fish – The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, like salmon and tuna, slow the growth of plaque and lower blood pressure (slightly). They also decrease your risk of arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat).
      • Tip: Eat fish at least 2 times a week. 1 serving is 3.5 ounces cooked or 3/4 cups of flaked fish.

Tips for Shopping

  • When buying meats, choose chicken or turkey breasts. If you’re going to choose red meats, make sure to get the cuts marked “loin” or round. They have less fat. Choose “choice” or “select” grades of beef and trim the fat!
  • Choose nonfat or lowfat dairy options. Others are full of saturated fats. If you want a frozen treat, frozen fruit bars are the way to go.
  • Pick your fats carefully. Avoid saturated fats like butter, and opt for unsaturated fats like olive oil.

Food Prep and Cooking

  • Make recipes or egg dishes with egg whites, instead of egg yolks.  Substitute two egg whites for each egg yolk.
  • Stir fry your veggies but avoid high sodium seasonings like soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. Try wine, little oil, or veggie stock.
  • Roast, grill, or broil on a pan with a rack so the food doesn’t sit in its own fat drippings.
  • Steam your veggies in a basket over simmering water as they’ll retain more of their flavor.
  • Add flavor with herbs and spices. NOT salt.

Resources to Give Your Heart A Boost

Treat your hearty best friend with care, trust the words that ‘you are what you eat’, and you’ll live a happier and healthier life!

Holiday Stress-Eating? Snack On This!

Thanksgiving is over, but the season of holiday eating isn’t! The next few weeks of last minute shopping, office Christmas parties, and family get-togethers will leave us eating more (aka snacking to ward off stress) than usual, so we’ve drafted a few snack saviors to help us get through the rest of the season in a healthy and non-guilty fashion:

  • The ‘erries – Blueberries, cranberries, and even cherries are packed with a lot of punch. Blueberries give a much needed energy boost, cranberries help protect from diseases and infections, and cherries are the fruit of choice for weight maintenance.
  • Persimmons – These sweet & savory fruits always seem to be under the radar, but they’re in the spotlight on ours. They’re full of fiber and Vitamin A. Eat them ripe and on a full stomach because they can react to an acidic environment, causing an intestinal obstruction called a bezoar.
  • Nuts – Put those beautiful nutcrackers to use and add some crunch to your palate. Nutrition profiles vary for each nut but almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts boast the highest Vitamin E content per serving, a powerful antioxidant essential for metabolic processes and also good for preventing the development of arterial plaque (which can cause heart attacks).
  • Dark Chocolate – It’s truly a sweet fact when you find out that dark chocolate can be good for you. Not only does its natural antioxidants help with good cardiovascular health, but its chemical compounds also help with your mood. Snack and be merry, you deserve it!
  • Homemade Kettle Corn –  We love popcorn because it satisfies, but doesn’t spoil your appetite! And the healthy part about making it yourself? You control the sugar. Try using Rapunzel Organic Whole Cane Sugar (it retains most of the sugar cane’s minerals and vitamins).

Photo: The Healthy Housewife

Hilton Head Diet Week 4 Weight Check In and Dieting Tips

Founder of MoChi Fitness, Dawna Hudson started the Hilton Head Metabolism Diet to lose 15 pounds, and has completed Week 3 (Booster Phase).

Dawna’s already lost 30 pounds on the MoChi Diet and wants to lose the rest through clean and balanced eating and exercise. Her starting weight was 149.5 pounds and after 3 weeks, she’s moved down to 143.5 pounds! She only has 6 more pounds to lose and she’s so excited! Dawna will continue checking in with video updates of her weight loss progress so make sure to stay motivated and follow along on the MoChi Fitness Facebook Page and MoChi Fitness Blog!

Read on for some helpful Hilton Head dieting tips!

Each week you will buy foods that are fresh. Below are some ideas and information to keep in mind as you stock your kitchen:

  • To add calorie-free flavor to everything you cook, you’ll want a selection of spices on hand… Garlic and onion powder, thyme, oregano, curry, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Fresh basil is best, but dried basil can be substituted.
  • Often recipes call for a small amount of ingredient, for instance spaghetti sauce. When possible, freeze the remaining portion in an ice cube tray, then pop out and store in plastic bags in the freezer for the next time you make the spaghetti.
  • Read labels to be sure whole wheat or whole grains are the primary ingredients. Look for hidden sugars (any ingredient ending in “-ose” like sucrose and fructose) and fats.
  • Your body needs carbohydrates for energy, and the best sources are whole grains. The higher fiber grains keep your blood sugar and insulin in control. This may prevent the development of type II diabetes.

NUTRITION: Cherry Fruit Salad

RECIPE: Cherry Fruit Salad

1 pint raspberries
1 pint blueberries
1/2 pound Bing cherries
2 medium oranges, peeled, pith removed
2 tablespoons eau de vie

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries and raspberries. Working over parchment paper, pit the cherries, discard the pits, and add the fruit to the berry mixture. Section the oranges and add them to the bowl.
Pour the juices that have collected on the paper into the bowl, add the eau de vie, and gently toss. Divide among four bowls and serve.

Makes 4 servings

[Martha Stewart]