Heart Healthy Eating
According to the American Heart Association, healthy eating is one of the most important things you can do for your body. A healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons against heart disease. ENJOY, LIMIT, and AVOID:
ENJOY a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, non-tropical vegetable oils, low-fat & fat-free dairy products, fish, skinless poultry, lean & extra lean meat, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes.
LIMIT sugary drinks, sweets, fatty or processed meats, solid fats, and salty or highly processed foods.
AVOID partially hydrogenated oils.
Key Recommendations For A Heart Healthy Diet
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts. Reduce consumption of high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods and beverages.
- Eat fish, especially oily fish (such as salmon, trout, and mackerel) at least twice a week. Oily fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower the risk of death from heart disease.
- Get at least 5 – 10% of daily calories from omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean as well as nuts and seeds.
- Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Limit daily consumption of foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol, such as red meat, whole-fat dairy products, shellfish, and egg yolks.
- Limit consumption of trans fatty acids (found in fast foods and commercially baked products) to less than 1% of total daily calories.
- Replace saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats from plant and fish oils.
- Restrict your sodium (salt) intake. Try to limit sodium intake to less than 1,500 milligrams a day. This target is especially important for middle-aged and older people, African-Americans, and people with high blood pressure. The DASH diet is a good example of a heart-healthy eating plan that limits sodium intake.
- Choose nutrient-rich fruits instead of beverages and processed foods that contain added sugars
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation (1 drink per day for women, 2 drinks per day for men).
- Exercise regularly (at least 30 minutes a day) so that you burn at least as many calories as you consume to attain or maintain a healthy weight.
Prevention magazine wrote an article outlining the 25 Best Foods for Your Heart. According to the article, there is one trick to turning your kitchen into a hub for heart health: Don’t stick to the same few foods. Among the variety of foods recommended are:
- Wild Salmon (not farmed)
- Chia Seeds
- Red Wine
- Green Tea
- Soy Milk
- Dark Chocolate
- Brussel Sprouts
- Whole Grains
- Avocado Oil
- Olive Oil
Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Sautéed Greens with Pecans
For the chicken with mushrooms:
- 1 (10-ounce) containerbaby bella mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
- 2portobello mushrooms, cleaned, halved and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
- 1 (8-ounce) container slicedwhite button musrooms (about 4 cups)
- 4, (6-ounce) skinless, bonelesswhole chicken cutlets
- 1/4 teaspoonsalt
- 1/4 teaspoon groundblack pepper
- 4 teaspoonscanola oil (divided)
- 1 teaspoon driedthyme
- 1/4 cupwater
- 1 tablespoonall-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup fat-freesour cream
For the sauteed greens:
- 2 teaspoonscanola oil (divided)
- 1, (5-ounce) containerbaby kale
- 2, (5-ounce) containerbaby spinach
- 1 teaspoon mincedgarlic
- 1/8 teaspoonsalt
- 1/4 teaspoon groundblack pepper
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped, unsaltedpecans
- 2 teaspoonswhite vinegar
Cooking Tip: Mushrooms absorb oil as they sauté—the more oil added, the more these little sponges will soak it up. The best way to combat this is by cooking in a nonstick pan which needs minimal oil.
Keep it Healthy: Using fat-free sour cream or fat-free cream cheese is an easy low-fat way to create a creamy sauce. Just note that for sour cream, stir it into the pan off the heat otherwise the sour cream can curdle.
Tip: Any combination of chopped mushrooms can be used, as long as it equals 12 cups and are chopped into similar sized slices.
- Prepare all the mushrooms: wipe the baby bell mushrooms with a wet paper towel. Trim and discard the ends and thinly sliced each mushroom. Next, clean the portobello mushrooms by removing and discarding each stem. Use a spoon to scrape the black gills from the underside of each mushroom; discard gills. Slice each portobello in half and then thinly slice each half vertically. Halve any white mushroom halves that are much larger than the others.
- Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt plus a dash of pepper. Add 2 teaspoons oil to a large nonstick sauté pan or a large Dutch oven. Warm over medium-high heat and add chicken cutlets. Sauté until both sides of chicken are golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and reserve.
- Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan, continuing to cook over medium-high heat. Add all the mushroom slices, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are softened. Stir in pepper, thyme, and water. Use tongs to place chicken back into the pan. Increase heat to high; when boiling, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium. Cook until chicken is done (cut thickest piece in the center to make sure juices run clear), about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sautéed greens. Add oil into a large nonstick sauté pan and warm over medium-high heat. Add all the baby kale, stirring constantly until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat, adding spinach and garlic, stirring constantly until wilted, another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, and pecans. Remove from heat. Drizzle vinegar over the greens and transfer to a platter.
- When chicken is fully cooked, use tongs to transfer chicken breasts to the platter (on top of the greens). Increase the heat to high; add flour to the mushrooms, stirring constantly as the mushroom liquid thickens slightly, a few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream until dissolved. Pour mushroom sauce over chicken and serve.
Recipe copyright © 2016 American Heart Association. This recipe is brought to you by the American Heart Association’s Simple Cooking with Heart ® Program. For more simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit heart.org/simplecooking.