Prevention is still the best medicine for any condition. Aside from regular cardio work-outs, proper diet and heart healthy recipes are essential to keeping the heart in top shape. Too much cholesterol in the system may form plaques in the arteries. The plaques will later block out the whole artery, leading to organ failure.
Seared tuna salad with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing is one of those heart healthy recipes that you may try. Lettuce and romaine are rich in B vitamins. One of the B vitamins, niacin, is known to decrease the cholesterol levels in the blood. Mix cucumber and tomatoes into the salad to get anti-oxidant rich minerals. Cucumbers are high in potassium, an essential element in lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Cucumbers also contain sterols, an agent that decreases the LDL (low density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol in the blood.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which decreases inflammation. Inflammation in the blood vessels increases the size of plaque already present because white blood cells and platelets adhere to the plaque. Without inflammation, the size of the plaque is maintained and progression of the atherosclerosis- a condition where a plaque has formed in the artery- is halted. Add walnuts to the salad not just for added flavour, but also for the l-arginine found in it.
L-arginine is an amino acid that is proven to improve the blood flow and the integrity of the vessels. Raspberry vinaigrette is low in saturated fats and contains anti-oxidants. Tuna and other fishes like salmon are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acid increases the HDL (high density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol levels in the blood. The primary advantage of having plenty of HDL in the blood is that HDL cleans out the bad cholesterol- LDL and VLDL- from the blood. The bad cholesterol is the source of plaques in the arteries. HDL is able to decrease those levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks. In the absence of plaques, the heart no longer needs to pump as hard to circulate the blood; therefore, the blood pressure is lowered.
Brown rice is a good source of carbohydrates, potassium, and B vitamins and can also be a part of your heart healthy recipes. Just a cup of brown rice will bring about a feeling of fullness because brown rice is a complex carbohydrate. White rice has a simpler structure compared to brown rice; consequently, it is easier for digestive enzymes to break down white rice than brown rice.
Steamed and sautéed vegetables are also heart healthy recipes. For sautéed vegetables, avoid using butter. Butter is a saturated fat; olive oil is a better alternative for sautéing. Chicken breast, without the skin, contains minimal cholesterol in contrast to other meat. Lean pork is also a good alternative to chicken. Beef and other red meat must be avoided because of the high fat content found in the meat. Unlike pork, the fat found in eat is found in between the muscle tissues.
Heart healthy recipes are not without dessert. Cacao found in dark chocolate contains flavanols. Flavanol is a flavonoid that affects the vascular system. Similar to l-arginine, flavanol promotes efficient flow of blood to the organs, resulting to a decrease blood pressure.
Artificial flavorings and foods are avoided because of the high salt content. Salt promotes water retention, which subsequently increases the blood pressure. Instead of adding salt to meals, add foods that are naturally salty such as herring and sardine. A healthy diet does not mean a bland diet. It simply means to cut down on artificial products and choose natural products.
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