Throughout the year, it can be difficult to stay motivated and stick with your health goals and resolutions. Staying committed to a healthier routine not only helps achieve weight loss goals, but it can also greatly improve heart health.
Having a healthy heart and cardiovascular system [heart, blood, arteries, & veins] is central to overall good health.
After-all, your heart is the organ responsible for keeping everything moving! It pumps nutrient-rich blood throughout the body via arteries and veins so that other tissues are able to get what they need to continue-on functioning, keeping you healthy. Properly supporting heart health is vital & healthy diet is a number one factor in how well your heart & cardiovascular system can perform.
One of the easiest ways to upkeep a healthy diet is to find simple, delicious recipes that include one or two highly nutritious ingredients.
You don’t have to eat the same, plain meals day-in and day-out to achieve your goals; healthier doesn’t mean bland and boring. In this article we will be going over 4 simple recipes that you can rotate into your heart-healthy diet to improve overall health.
Spinach Heart Healthy Fact:
Spinach is full of vitamins and minerals. Especially vitamin K which helps protect arteries and blood clotting. Leafy greens like spinach are also high in dietary nitrates which help relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
1. Creamed Spinach Recipe
Servings: 1 Calories: 96kcal
- 5 cups baby spinach
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup plain kefir
- 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4-1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- pink salt & pepper, to taste
- Steam spinach in saucepan with about 1/4 c water then drain
- Stir in nutritional yeast, kefir, garlic powder, pink salt, and pepper
- Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 t xanthan gum (stir in additional xanthan gum if you desire a thicker sauce)
Calories: 96kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 141mg | Potassium: 1137mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 14066IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 5mg
More Health Benefits of Spinach
This creamed spinach recipe is rich and easy to make but it’s also a healthy meal to add to your diet. Spinach is one of our favorite ingredients because it is both healthy as delicious.
Here are just a few of the benefits you can get from adding more spinach to your diet.
- Spinach contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative, stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.
- Spinach contains chlorophyll. Several studies, including this 2013 study carried out on 12,000 animals, have shown chlorophyll to be effective at blocking the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines.
- Risks for developing asthma are lower in people who have a high intake of beta-carotene. Spinach is an excellent source of beta-carotene.
- Contains high potassium content, spinach is recommended for people with high blood pressure. Potassium can help reduce the effects of sodium in the body.
- Spinach is high in vitamin C, which is crucial for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.
Blueberry Heart Healthy Fact:
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which combat oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to heart disease.
2. Blueberry Pudding Recipe
Servings: 1 Calories: 219kcal
- 1/3 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 6 drops liquid Stevia
- Blend all ingredients in food processor until combined
- Top with toppings of choice, if desired
Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 536mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 10.1mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 1.5mg
More Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries may be sweet, but that doesn’t mean they are unhealthy. Blueberries have more antioxidants than most of the other foods we eat and can positively impact your health in many ways.
- Blueberries help combat heart disease by reducing risk factors like high blood pressure and studies have even linked the antioxidants in blueberries to a lowered risk of heart attacks https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23319811/
- The antioxidants in blueberries can reduce damage to DNA which can slow the aging process.
- Blueberries are the king of antioxidants and protect our bodies from decay. This includes maintaining brain function and even helping to prevent cancer.
- Blueberries can also help people manage diabetes. Although they won’t replace insulin or any medicines you may need.
Avocado Heart Healthy Fact:
Avocados are filled with heart healthy fats that help lower cholesterol and improve heart health. Avocados are also rich in potassium which helps to reduce blood pressure and risk of stroke.
3. Chocolate Avocado Mousse Recipe
Servings: 2 Calories: 195kcal
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 15 – 20 drops liquid Stevia
- Combine all ingredients in food processor
- Process until smooth and fluffy
- Serve chilled
Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 651mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 147IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg
More Health Benefits of Avocados
From avocado and toast to avocado and mouse these fruits [yes, they are fruits] are packed with healthy fats that can help more than just your heart.
- Avocados can help your eyesight. The carotenoids in avocados help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss as we age.
- Avocados can help you feel fuller longer. A small study has found that the fats in avocados can lead to increased satiety after a meal. https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-12-155
- Avocados are also incredibly nutritious with a simple 3.5 oz. serving containing 26% of your daily value of vitamin K, 17% of your daily value of vitamin C, and 20% of your daily value of Folate.
- You can find more potassium in an avocado than a banana. Potassium helps lower blood pressure, promotes bone health, and keep your muscles from cramping after a long day.
Tomato Heart Healthy Fact:
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene (the pigment and antioxidant which give tomatoes their red color). Studies show that lycopene helps fight free radicals, reduce inflammation, and decrease risk of stroke and heart disease.
4. Creamy Tomato Soup Recipe
Servings: 1 Calories: 157kcal
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1/2 c low fat cottage cheese
- pink salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Drain a little juice from the tomatoes into a saucepan and sauté the garlic for a minute.
- Dump in the tomatoes and spices and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add cottage cheese and blend until smooth. An immersion blender works great for this if you have one. If not, transfer the soup to your blender to puree.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 1047mg | Potassium: 869mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 480IU | Vitamin C: 39.2mg | Calcium: 196mg | Iron: 4.2mg
More Health Benefits of Tomatoes:
Tomatoes are a polarizing food with almost as many people hating them as loving them. But one thing everyone can agree on is that tomatoes are very healthy with loads of benefits when eaten regularly.
- First-off, tomatoes are loaded with vitamins. vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C can all be found in large amounts in tomatoes.
- Tomatoes can also help improve your vision. Lutein and Lycopene are both good for your eye sight and both can be found in tomatoes.
- Tomatoes can also boost your digestive health thanks to its fiber. However, cooked tomatoes can become more acidic so people that suffer from acid reflux should be cautious of eating too much.
How to focus on a heart healthy diet
Maintaining a healthy heart is an important part of becoming a healthier person.
However, it is also important to treat yourself to something nice every once in a while. At weight loss direct we believe you can do both at the same time. By making meals that focus on including heart healthy foods you can work to improve your health while still enjoying a delicious dinner or dessert. Sometimes you just have to get a little creative!
If you liked these recipes Weight Loss Direct has hundreds of healthy recipes to help keep our clients on track even if they aren’t part of the program.
You can get full access to recipes and so much more with a monthly membership to the WLD Members Community Portal – get registered at https://community.weightlossdirect.com/member-portal-advantage/ or speak with a coach to learn more.