Meatless Monday: Heart-Healthy Recipes
February is the perfect time to show your ticker some extra TLC. It’s Heart Month, the American Heart Association’s big push to raise awareness about the number one killer of women—heart disease.
While there are countless ways to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, like hitting the gym regularly, limiting alcohol consumption, and skipping the smokes, you might already be doing your heart a huge favor if you cut out meat one day a week. Researchers at Harvard University found that replacing saturated fats (those found in meat and full-fat dairy) with polyunsaturated fats (found in nuts, seeds, and olive oil), improves heart health (and makes weight loss easier, an added bonus we like).
This month, try taking your Monday routine one step further by donning a scarlet accessory. The Monday Campaigns, the parent organization behind Meatless Monday, is urging Americans to wear something red every Monday as a way to get women talking about their blood pressure, cholesterol, and other heart disease indicators (you’re never too young to be in the know!). Whether it’s via a face-to-face conversation, text message, or tweet, share the love. Wear red, tell your friends about it, and pass along these five heart-healthy recipes to the women you care about most.
Whole Wheat Pasta with Walnuts, Spinach, and Mozzarella (pictured) A mix of olive oil, walnuts, whole wheat spaghetti, spinach, and low-fat cheese, this dish is chock-full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, omega-3s, whole grains, and antioxidants.
Fruit and Spice Cut Oatmeal Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that eating cereal, especially whole grain varieties, 7 days a week reduces high blood pressure risk by 25%. Give this belly-warming bowl a try.
Vegetable Paella This fiber-packed dish (there’s even beans in there) is the perfect way to get more produce onto your plate.
Herb Roasted Potato Medley All potatoes are good sources of vitamin C and fiber, but purple potatoes offer a dose of anthocyanins, which may help protect against heart disease and diabetes.
Easy Tropical Fruit Salad Berries are also brimming with anthocyanins, and according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating them regularly can help reduce your risk for high blood pressure.
photo: Mitch Mandel