Nearly 1 out of every 2 adults in the U.S. is considered to have cardiovascular disease. That’s a startling number, but Americans as a whole still aren’t active or maintain a healthy weight. As of 2020, 42.4% of American adults are considered obese, having a BMI over 30. So what is someone to do, if they want to start down the path to improving their heart health and decrease their risk for developing cardiovascular diseases? Look no further than your refrigerator- what you eat can help decrease your blood pressure, regulate cholesterol, improve circulation, and so many more benefits. Here are eight recipes to get you started.
We previously shared a post with many delicious overnight oat recipes. Oats can help lower cholesterol and regulate glucose levels because of their low glycemic index. There are endless possibilities of combinations for overnight oats- fruits, nuts, spices, milks, can all be interchanged to suit anybody’s taste. Find all the recipes using the button below.
Sheet pan chili lime salmon
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat. Not all fats are the same, and choosing healthy options can be the difference between supporting your heart health by lowering cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and decreasing inflammation (among other benefits like improving brain health, decreasing pain, and more), or increasing all those levels and increasing the risk of developing CVDs. Choosing wisely has serious benefits, and you’ll still get plenty of good flavor.
Crispy chickpea grain bowl with lemon vinaigrette
This bowl contains several elements that support heart health. Quinoa is a whole grain, full of healthy fats and is a complete protein, meaning it has all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids help blood vessels relax and improve circulation. Chick peas are another ingredient that contain many vitamins and minerals and also help manage weight. In fact, in one study, those who ate chickpeas regularly were 53% less likely to have a body mass index (BMI) over 30 and more likely to have a lower waist circumference than those who didn’t eat chickpeas.
Healthy chicken pad Thai
Pad Thai is often prepared with coconut milk, which can be high in calories and saturated fat. This recipe incorporates the flavors, but makes a healthy alternative to the traditional sauce, making it better on the waistline and safer for your heart health. Tamarind paste is the source of flavor in Pad Thai, but can sometimes be hard to come by (this recipe shares how to work around it, if you can’t find any), and has been found to have anti cancer properties, is a source of antioxidants, and may even help reduce the risk of diabetes. To top that off, tamarind also helps regulate cholesterol and blood pressure. You can read more about the benefits of tamarind, here.
Veggie and hummus sandwich
The spread on the sandwich is hummus, which is made from chick peas, which are full of protein, vitamins and minerals and have been found to help regulate weight. The chick peas are blended with olive oil, a healthy fat. Choosing healthy fats can make a huge difference in decreasing your risk of developing serious health issues; according to the American Heart Association, researchers have found those who ate more than half a tablespoon of olive oil each day had a 15% lower risk of having any kind of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Load up the sandwich with your favorite vegetables and make sure you pick a bread that is made of whole grains and does not have a lot of sugar and you are guaranteed to have a heart-healthy sandwich in your hands.
Greek lemon chicken orzo
Orzo, which is riced shaped pasta, isn’t necessarily a great option when trying to cut calories or regulate carbs. Carbs often get a bad rap, but choosing whole, minimally processed options, in moderation, can be better for your health. Eating whole grain options is associated with several benefits, including a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Quinoa, whole wheat orzo, riced cauliflower, and riced broccoli are all great alternatives.
Spicy tuna bowl
Tuna is a lean protein that has heart healthy fats. Combined in a bowl with a whole grain option like brown rice (or any of these alternatives), veggies, and a delicious, homemade spicy sauce (home made sauces are best as you can control how much sodium is used), this recipe is great for lunch or for meal planning ahead.
Mini carrot zucchini cupcakes
Zucchini contains the water-soluble fiber pectin. Pectin may lower bad cholesterol and lipid levels in a person’s blood, promoting good heart health. And, zucchini is also high in potassium, which can help manage high blood pressure. Zucchini is also high in antioxidants and helps digestive health. Carrots contain carotenoids, that have been linked to reduced risk of heart disease as well as improved immune function. Another bonus about this recipe is the mini muffin size- portions are just as important as ingredients, and making smaller bites can help keep you on track.
Shrimp rice paper rolls
Spring rolls are a light, flavorful option for a snack or a light meal. You can add any vegetables you like, serve with low sodium soy sauce or tamari. If you enjoy the experience of fried egg rolls, but want to steer clear of saturated fats from the frying, this is the food for you.
There are so many delicious recipe options available that include foods that will help support your heart health. Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments!