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Heart Health and Diet - Stock up on Heart Healthy Foods

Heart Health and Diet

A healthy diet “dietary pattern” can help manage and reduce your risk of heart disease. Food choices have a big impact on cardiac risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugars and weight.

So what is a heart healthy diet?

  • A balance and variety of foods

  • Focusing on whole (natural) foods, including more plant based foods:

    • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains

    • Lean meats, chicken, pork

    • Fatty fish more often

    • Alternative proteins like chickpeas, lentils, dried beans, nuts and seeds

    • 2% MF milk/yogurt, eggs in moderation

    • Adding in healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts/seeds

  • Cooking your favorite meals from scratch

  • Limiting highly processed, pre-prepared foods and restaurant eating.

  • When choosing package/canned foods, label reading to make healthier choices, limiting sodium and sugar, and choosing more fibre

  • And leaving room for some favorite treats, guilt free, once in awhile

The Mediterranean Diet is a good example of a healthy dietary pattern described above. The pyramid in the link below shows the types and frequency of foods to eat on a weekly basis. The biggest part of the pyramid more often and larger quantities on the plate, and the smaller parts of the pyramid less often during the week and in smaller portions.

Stock up on Heart Healthy Foods

  • Canned salmon, sardines, mackerel, canned beans and chickpeas, dried beans, lentils

  • Frozen prawns, shrimp, fish

  • Barley, brown basmati rice, oatmeal, quinoa

  • Frozen berries, frozen vegetables. Vegetables that keep well - apples, beets, carrots, squash, cabbage, potatoes. Canned tomatoes, applesauce, peaches, pears, mandarines (no added sugar)

  • Nuts, seeds, natural peanut butter, almond butter

  • Tetra packs of milk, soy milk, almond milk (shelf stable)

Salmon with Barley & Spinach

Eating from your panty. Not getting enough fish? Canned fish is an easy solution. Whole grains? Barley is your top heart healthy pick. No barley? Use quinoa (cooks in 15 min) or rice. Concerned about eating raw greens? Cooking a quick fix. Extra spinach? Add to soups, eggs, stews, curries, pasta, sauces and more.

1 cup barley AND 2 cups water

1 can pink salmon (or choice of salmon), drained

1/2 red onion, diced

1 cayenne Chili, minced OR 1/2 tsp red pepper

flakes OR ¼ tsp Chili powder

4 cups baby spinach

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

pinch of salt & freshly ground pepper

Bring water to boil, add barley and simmer for 40 min. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add onion and cayenne chili, saute until softened and starting to brown, 6 min. Throw in spinach near-end of cooking time. Add onion mixture to pot with the barley, along with the salmon. Toss to combine. Give a good pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle with lemon & enjoy!!

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