Supercharge Your Fitness
February is Heart Month
February is designated as Heart Month by the American Heart Association. Each year, 500,000 Americans die of heart disease, which is the #1 killer of both women and men. Heart disease occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to the build-up of plaque on the arteries’ inner walls. Plaque is the accumulation of fat, cholesterol and other substances. Heart disease can lead to a heart attack which can be fatal or cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.
Choose a Healthy Diet
If you are interested in learning more about your risks, talk to your trusted health professional to protect your health. Everyone can benefit from changing their lifestyle to one that is more heart-healthy. Choosing healthy foods can make a positive difference in your heart health. The U.S. News and World Report leads the way in highlighting the best overall diets every year to keep us healthy. The Mediterranean Diet, the DASH Diet and the TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) are a few approaches that offer guidance, help prevent high blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol and help reduce the risk of heart disease. To learn more about these programs the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides information on the prevention and treatment of heart disease and offers publications on heart health.
Start With One Thing
One significant change that you can make in your diet is adding omega-3 fatty acids. Along with other heart-healthy foods, it is beneficial to add omega-3 fatty acids because they are beneficial in lowering heart attack risk. There are three main omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Since omega- 3s cannot be made by the body they must come from food. EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and trout. ALA is found in plant-based foods such as walnuts, flaxseed, soybean oil and canola oil. Don’t fret over the science jargon, just know that adding these foods is a step in the right direction towards heart health. The featured recipe gets high marks for omega-3s and will do your heart some good!
Roasted Salmon with Asparagus and Walnuts
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard
- ½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ Tbsp melted butter
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Four 4-ounce salmon fillets
- 1 pound fresh asparagus spears
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with parchment or foil. Combine honey, mustard, butter, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper; set aside.
- Pat fish dry with a paper towel. Place salmon portions in the center of the baking pan. Arrange asparagus around salmon. Sprinkle with walnuts; drizzle with reserved sauce.
- Roast 10-15 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout.
Yield: 4 servings
Cindy Kleckner, RDN, LD, FAND is a registered dietitian nutritionist and culinary expert, a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and author of Hypertension Cookbook for Dummies, 2011 and the DASH Diet For Dummies, 2014. Email Cindy for personalized nutrition or culinary consultation at the APEX Centre or call 214-293-5306.