How To Feed A Healthy Heart

There is such an enormous variety of ingredients available at the supermarkets these days, and with competitive cooking shows making amateur chefs out of all of us, our tastes are expanding every day! With such a huge array of choice, it’s easy to lose sight of what makes up a healthy-heart diet. It may sound like old news these days, but Omega 3 remains an essential part of a healthy-heart diet to this day. Foods rich in Omega 3 help to manage your triglyceride levels, which can be harmful to your heart if they run too high. But when you think of beans, greens, and oily fish, it doesn’t exactly scream ‘master chef’, does it? However, you’d be surprised how creative you can get, while keeping these staples in mind. Here’s a breakdown of some of the key sources of Omega 3, and some clever ways to introduce them to your weekly shop.

Beans

There are so many sugary, fatty foods out there calling out to be snacked, and when hunger hits, it’s often the first thing many of us turn to. However, if you’re trying to stick to a healthy diet, but your find yourself going hungry, you may not be getting the right balance of healthy fats and energy you need. Beans are a great source of fibre, perfect for keeping you fuller longer, and keeping those sugar cravings at bay. Many of us loose interest at the thought of soaking beans or lentils overnight. However, canned beans can be just as effective, can be stored for years, and better still, cooked in very little time. It’s good to check that you’ve got at least one or two cans in the cupboard before you head out for your weekly shop. Just be sure to check that the label reads ‘no-added-sugar’, as certain brands are loaded with extra sugar, which can send your triglycerides sky-rocketing.

Oily Fish

Many of us were raised on a daily, dreaded spoon of cod-liver-oil. Though it may bring back bad memories, it’s important to know that your suffering was not in vain. In fact, these days you can choose from a whole range of Omega three supplements, from flaxseed oil to krill oil, thankfully all available in capsule-form. But what about oily fish on the plate? For your weekly intake of oily fish, you can choose from Mackerel, Salmon, Tuna, and many more. Heading into the summer months, this is a great time to reignite your love of oily fish, especially with such lovely veggies and salads in season. Next time to dust off the barbeque, why not swap the burgers for some blackened mackerel with fresh lemon, or spicy tuna tacos? Just remember, fresh tuna contains much higher quantities of Omega 3 than canned tuna, so while the odd tuna-cheese melt might be exquisite to eat, you might not be giving your heart the healthy kick it needs.

Spinach

Spinach, kale, and watercress: love them or hate them, these so-called ‘super’ greens are certainly hitting the health spotlight at the moment. Unfortunately, many popular diets these days are over reliant on low calorie intake, and are not always a healthy option for everyone. As we’ve seen, there are certain slow-release sugars and healthy fats, which are actually helpful to your heart. However, leafy greens can be a wonderful addition to balanced diet, actively aiding in lowering your triglycerides, and adding essential vitamins to your diet. And there are lots of ways to sneak some extra greens into your diet. Ever blended some spinach into a savoury pancake mix? Or stuffed a chicken breast with spinach and ricotta? And spinach is a no-brainer when it comes to adding a little green to a tomato-based sauce (just check out the recipe below!).

With a little creative flare, you can take the basics of a healthy-heart diet, and transform them into a delicious dish for the family. Why not keep these staples in mind when you’re making your next shopping list? And check out my heart-healthy recipe for Salmon Rougaille below, inspired by Mira’s Mauritian flare! 

 

Mauritian-Inspired Salmon Rougaille and Black Beans
 
Recipe Type: Dinner
Cuisine: Mauritian
Author: Mira
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 small handful of chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 finely chopped green chilli
  • 1 tbsp. pulped ginger
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 generous handful of baby-leaf spinach
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 400g can of black beans
  • Natural yogurt to serve
Instructions
  1. Blend the fresh coriander, green chilli, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and cumin in a pestle and mortar or blender. 2. Coat your salmon fillets in the spice mix, and allow to marinade while you cook the onions. 3. In a wide pan, fry onions in a little oil on a medium heat until translucent 4. Bring the pan to a high temperature, and add the salmon along with any excess spice mix. Fry for about three minutes on each side until just starting to blacken. 5. Bringing the heat back to a moderate temperature, add the tomatoes, spinach, and curry leaves around the salmon, and cook for a further ten minutes allowing the salmon to soak in the sauce. 6. Meanwhile, cook your black beans in a separate pan on a medium heat, seasoning with salt pepper, and a little olive oil. 7. Serve your salmon with a generous helping of sauce, and a side of black beans. To finish, add a dollop of natural yogurt and a little garnish of fresh coriander.
 

Guest Post By Julie Hough

Picture Credit: BBC UK Food,  Johnny Seeds

5 Comments

  1. maamej
    July 4, 2015 / 2:54 am

    I made the salmon & spinach dish last night and it was delicious, thank you for the recipe. I modified it a bit and used ground coriander instead of cinnamon, which my son doesn’t like, and left out the curry leaves for the same reason. I used fresh tomatoes & added some crushed garlic to the black beans. It’s a great combination & although the salmon’s finished I still have some beans & vegies to eat with rice today – yum.

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