Anna Bertorelli, MBA, RD, CDE
February is Heart-Health month. In adapting an article from WebMD of the “best of the best” heart-healthy foods, I have highlighted some foods that deserve extra attention.
The foods listed are considered “super foods” in protecting your heart and blood vessels. Provided are menu ideas — so you can easily incorporate these foods into your daily meals and snacks. Estimated carbohydrate amounts are provided to assist you with carbohydrate counting. Enjoy!
Photo collage courtesy of Corrine E. Fischer, MS, RD, LDN of KeepYourDietReal.com
Salmon (0 g carbs / 3.5 oz serving)
Good source of: Omega-3 fatty acids.
Grill salmon with an herb rub or marinade. Save a piece to add to whole grain pasta, brown rice or salad later on. See recipe below with orange marmalade.
Flaxseed ( < 2.0 g carbs/ 1 Tbsp)
Good source of: Omega-3 fatty acids; fiber, phytoestrogens.
Add whole or ground flaxseed to low -fat yogurt, cereal, or homemade breads and muffins.
Oatmeal (~ 15 g carbs / 1/2 cup cooked)
Good source of: Magnesium; potassium; folate; niacin; calcium; soluble fiber.
Top hot oatmeal with fresh berries, chopped apple and/or nuts.
Dry Beans (~ 15 g carbs/ 1/2 cup cooked)
Good source of: B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate; magnesium; omega-3 fatty acids; calcium; soluble fiber.
Delicious as a side dish, in soups, salads or straight from the can! Just rinse with cold water, drain and eat.
Almonds (~ 6 g carbs/ 1 oz serving or ~ 23 whole almonds)
Good source of: Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols.
Mix a few sliced almonds (and berries) into low-fat yogurt, trail mix, fruit salads or rice.
Walnuts (~ 4 g carbs/ 1 oz serving or ~ 14 halves)
Good source of: Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; folate; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols.
Walnuts add flavorful crunch to cereals, yogurt, salads, breads and muffins.
Tuna (0 g carbs/ 3.5 oz serving)
Omega-3 fatty acids; folate; niacin.
Great in a sandwich, on crackers, in a salad, or mixed with tomato sauce and pasta.
Tofu (~5 g carbs / 1/2 cup or 4 ounces)
Good source of: Niacin; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium.
Slice “firm” tofu, marinate several hours, grill or stir-fry. Also great in soups.
Brown rice (~ 22 g / 1/2 cup cooked)
Good source of: B-complex vitamins; fiber; niacin; magnesium, fiber.
Microwavable brown rice makes a quick lunch. Stir in a few chopped veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach).
Soy milk (~10 g carbs / 8 oz light vanilla soy milk)
Good source of: Isoflavones (a flavonoid); B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate, calcium; magnesium; potassium; phytoestrogens.
Soy milk is great over oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. Or, make a smoothie with soy milk.
Blueberries (~ 10 g carbs / 1/2 cup fresh berries)
Good source of:
Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); anthocyanin (a flavonoid); ellagic acid (a polyphenol); vitamin C; folate; calcium, magnesium; potassium; fiber.
Cranberries, strawberries, raspberries are potent, too — for trail mixes, muffins, salads!
Carrots (~ 5 g carbs / 1 small carrot or 1/ 2 cup sliced or 6 baby)
Good source of: Alpha-carotene (a carotenoid); fiber.
Baby carrots are sweet for lunch. Sneak shredded carrots into spaghetti sauce or muffin batter.
Spinach (~ 3 g carbs / 1/2 cup cooked or ~ 1 g carbs / 1 cup raw)
Good source of: Lutein (a carotenoid); B-complex vitamins; folate; magnesium; potassium; calcium; fiber.
Pick spinach (not lettuce) for nutrient-packed salads and sandwiches.
Broccoli (~ 3 g carbs / 1/2 cup cooked or raw)
Good source of: Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); Vitamins C and E; potassium; folate; calcium; fiber.
Chop fresh broccoli into store-bought soup. For a veggie dip, try hummus (chickpeas).
Sweet potato (~ 27 g carbs / 5 ounce potato)
Good source of: Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); vitamins A, C, E; fiber.
Microwave in a zip-lock baggie for lunch. Eat au naturale or with pineapple bits.
Red bell peppers (~ 5 g carbs/ 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw)
Good source of: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber.
Rub with olive oil, and grill or oven-roast until tender. Delicious in wraps, salads, and sandwiches.
Asparagus (~ 3 g carbs / 4 spears)
Good source of: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; fiber.
Grill or steam slightly, then dress with olive oil and lemon.
Oranges (~ 15 g carbs/ 1 medium peeled 5 oz )
Good source of: Beta-cryptoxanthin, beta- and alpha-carotene, lutein (carotenoids) and flavones (flavonoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber.
Try oranges as dessert for lunch or add sections to your dinner salad.
Tomatoes (~ 5 g carbs / 1 medium 4 oz)
Good source of: Beta- and alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein (carotenoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber.
For a flavor twist, try ripe tomatoes in sandwiches, salads, pastas, or pizzas.
Acorn squash (~ 15 g carbs / 1/2 cup cubed, cooked)
Good source of: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium; fiber.
Baked squash is a comfort food during winter months. Serve with cinnamon, chopped walnuts and a drizzle of real maple syrup.
Cantaloupe (~13 g carbs / 1 cup cubed)
Good source of: Alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber.
A ripe cantaloupe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. Simply cut and enjoy!
Recipes for Heart-Health Month
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week. Each serving is 3-4 ounces cooked, or about ¾ cup of flaked fish. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Broiled Salmon with Marmalade-Dijon Glaze
Serve with sautéed Spinach or Salad and Roasted Sweet Potatoes or Brown Rice
YIELD: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet)
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Brush half of marmalade mixture over fish; broil a few inches from heat for 6 minutes. Brush fish with remaining marmalade mixture; broil for 2 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.
Amount per serving
Fat: 13.4 g
Saturated fat: 3.1 g
Monounsaturated fat: 5.8 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 3.3 g
Protein: 36.6 g
Carbohydrate: 27.3 g
Fiber: 0.4 g
Cholesterol: 87 mg
Sodium: 488 mg
Calcium: 42 mg
Adapted from Cooking Light APRIL 2006 (source: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/broiled-salmon-with-marmalade-dijon-glaze-10000001173824/)
Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
Serve with Brown Rice or Couscous and Green Beans or Broccoli.
YIELD: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1 pound tilapia fillets
Preheat your oven’s broiler. Spray broiler pan with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to overcook the fish.
Amount per serving
Fat: 10.3 g
Protein: 18.7 g
Carbohydrate: 1.8 g
Cholesterol: 63.7 mg
Sodium: 226 mg
Calcium: 95 mg
Recipe adapted from recipes.sparkpeople.com (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=75983)