During this time of the year everyone is thinking about the affairs of the heart. Everyone talks about and gives advice on how to fall in love, how to stay in love, how to find love, how to get rid of love etc. Thus, I decided to write about another affair of the heart. I want to talk about the affair of the “healthy heart”. After all if you aren’t having a “love affair” with your heart, you may not be healthy enough to enjoy a “love affair” of the heart.
Eating heart healthy means not always indulging in some of our guilty pleasures that you know are not good for you. Indulging in a constant stream of high fat, high salt, high carb, is not showing your heart love. Eating foods that are low in fat, low in salt, not fried and prepared in a healthy way is a great way to show your heart love. It is especially important to eat heart healthy after 40. For women, heart disease is the number one killer.
Some Important Statistics From The American Heart Association
- In 2012, 56 percent of women identified heart disease as the leading cause of death compared with 30 percent in 1997.
- In 1997, women were more likely to cite cancer than heart disease as the leading killer (35 percent versus 30 percent); but in 2012, only 24 percent cited cancer.
- In 2012, 36 percent of black women and 34 percent of Hispanic women identified heart disease as the top killer — awareness levels that white women had in 1997 (33 percent).
- Women 25-34 years old had the lowest awareness rate of any age group at 44 percent.
It is important for you take charge of your life and eat heart healthy. There are some great recipes that are heart healthy and are easy to make. The recipes below are from the Food Network and I totally love them. I found all of them easy to cook and very tasty. Enjoy! Start a “love affair” with your heart today and prepare one of these tasty recipes.
Heart Healthy Quinoa Salad
- 12 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
- 5 pickling cucumbers, peeled, ends trimmed, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and diced
- 1 bunch Italian parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 bunches mint leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 heads endive, trimmed and separated into individual spears
- 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced, for garnish
Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the quinoa, stir once, and return to a boil. Cook uncovered, over medium heat for 12 minutes. Strain and rinse well with cold water, shaking the sieve well to remove all moisture.
When dry, transfer the quinoa to a large bowl. Add the cucumbers, onion, tomato, parsley, mint, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss well. Spoon onto endive spears, top with avocado, and serve.
Heart Healthy Red Lentil Soup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup bulgur
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
Melt butter in a large pot, add the onions and saute until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, spices, and salt and pepper, and saute another minute to release the aromas. Stir in the tomato paste to blend with the onions, fry 1 to 2 minutes, then add the stock, bulgur and lentils. Cover and simmer until bulgur and lentils are thoroughly cooked and soup is thickened, about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat, stir in half of the herbs and sprinkle the remaining half over the soup. Serve immediately with yogurt to garnish.
Heart Healthy Spinach with Pomegranate Glazed Walnuts
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- One 5-ounce container baby spinach
- 4 ounces white button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
- 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
Combine 1/4 cup juice with the sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small nonstick skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the walnuts and continue to cook, stirring, until the nuts are coated and dark and the liquid evaporates in the skillet, about another 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet to cool. When cool, break apart with your hands.
Meanwhile, soak the red onion in ice water for about 10 minutes; drain and pat dry. Place the baby spinach in a serving bowl and top with the onions, mushrooms,