We are now close to concluding February, the Month of Love, but your heart loves all year round. Have you been taking the right cares to keep your heart beating strong for your friends and family? Are you speaking in the “five languages of love”?
- WEIGHT– Extra love around your midsection puts you at higher risk for heart disease, including a heart attack or stroke; focus on portion sizes, food selections, and exercise to keep your BMI low.
- FAT – Saturated fats, from animals and dairy products, should be kept to 7% of your calories, as it also raises cholesterol levels. A 2,000 calorie diet means a max of 65 grams of total fat and 15 grams of saturated fat.
- SODIUM – A.k.a. Salt. Too much can raise your blood pressure—and not in the heart throbbing, good loving type of way. The average American consumes nearly twice the recommended intake of ~2,000 mg per day. Opt for reduced sodium labels or, better yet, unpackaged natural foods.
- CHOLESTEROL – Keep your intake low and your blood vessels clean. Helpful tip: One egg has 213 mg or a day’s worth of cholesterol! Stick to substitutes or egg whites, which are low in cholesterol and fat but high in protein! Double heart-loving points!
- FIBER – Soluble fiber brings down LDL cholesterol, your healthy heart’s nemesis, by sending it on a lovely, one-way trip out of your body.
Everyday, Mother Nature bears her love for us in the form of fruits and vegetables; however, be weary of meat and dairy products, which are healthiest in moderation.
Renew your love for your heart and commit to these heart healthy changes!
Greek-Inspired Recipes From Our Heart to Yours
Greek Bean and Tomato Casserole
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 pounds of fresh green beans, washed, ends trimmed
- 2 cups of tomatoes, peeled, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup of water
- Sea salt
Sauté the onions in oil in a large pot until translucent. Mix in garlic and cook for a few seconds. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Lower heat to medium, place lid on pot, and simmer 50 minutes or until beans are tender. If needed, add more water while cooking. Serve warm.
Honeyed Cheese and Fruit
Makes 2 servings
- 3 tablespoons of walnut halves
- 3 ounces manouri cheese*
- 1/8 cup of honey
- 1 fresh apple, sliced
- 1 fresh pear, sliced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. To toast nuts, place walnuts on a cookie sheet and bake for 6 minutes, shaking the cookie sheet after 3 minutes to flip nuts.
- Arrange cheese on a serving platter. Drizzle with honey, scatter with nuts, and place fruit around cheese. Serve with a white or red wine.
*Manouri is a Greek cheese that can be found in specialty markets. Goat cheese, Brie, cream cheese, or farmer’s cheese can be substituted.