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Heart Healthy Recipes

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Article by Anastasia Wilson Lee

Resolve: Get fit during holidays for your health’s sake

People who step up their exercise may actually lose weight during the holidays.
The holidays have given us Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but no provision for something like Workout Weekdays. Maybe they should. Being physically active this time of year can help people maintain their weight or even lose a pound or two, one study showed. Plus, it can relieve stress and improve health.
Consider the benefits: Regular physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of early death, help control weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some types of cancer and a host of other conditions. It lowers the risk of cognitive decline and hip fractures.
And recent research suggests that exercise may be as effective as medication in preventing early death in people who’ve had heart attacks or strokes.
By Jan. 1, many people will resolve to get in better shape, but it’s not too soon to start right now. USA TODAY asked Boston-area sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, author of the best-selling Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, now in a new fifth edition, to talk about the benefits of exercise.
Q: What are the advantages of exercising during the holidays?
A: Exercise does take some time from your busy day, but the benefits include using that time to think about what gifts to give to whom, to plan your to-do list, to connect with friends for holiday walks and runs, to reflect on hopes and fears and to give yourself the gift of health. I multitask when I exercise by planning my day as I bike to work or walk or run with my dog. Exercise disconnects me from e-mails, phones and screens and allows much needed “thinking time.”
Q: […]

Pear and Cherry Crumble

Description
Ingredients
Ingredients for the fruit
Cooking spray
Juice of one lemon
5-6 fresh pears, the riper the better
1 cup dried cherries
Zest of one lemon
1/2 cup pear juice (may substitute apple juice)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour

Ingredients for the topping
1 cup vanilla granola
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup trans fat free margarine spread
Cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.  Fill a large bowl halfway with cold water and the juice of one lemon. Cut the stems off the pears and peel them, placing each one in the acidulated water as you do so. Then, half, core and seed the pears and cut them into inch-thick lengthwise slices or chunks, returning each sliced pear to the lemon water until the job is completed. Drain the cut pears in a colander and return them to the mixing bowl. Add the cherries, lemon zest, pear or apple juice, honey, flavorings, spices, and one tablespoon of flour to the fruit and stir to mix everything well. Let the fruit macerate for 15 minutes; then place it in the prepared baking dish.
Make the topping. Place the granola, flour, brown sugar, almonds, and spices in a large mixing bowl and toss them together lightly. Add the margarine spread and use your hands to work the spread into the dry ingredients until blended but crumbly. Spread the topping over the pears. Place the dish on the foil-lined baking sheet and bake the crumble for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the juices are bubbling and translucent. Serve warm.
Note: This is a good way […]

Healthiest State Rankings: Sadly Louisiana Ranks 48!!

Healthiest State Rankings: Hawaii Tops 2013 List
Where you live could say a lot about your health habits — and a new ranking reveals which states have it the best and worst.
On a whole, Americans are adopting healthier behaviors, such as stopping smoking and increasing physical activity, according to the report, published by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention.
The report also shows that the percentage of smokers has dropped to 19.6 percent in the U.S. from 21.2 percent in the last year. And physical inactivity has dropped on a whole to 22.9 percent in the last year, down from 26.2 percent.
The findings are based on multiple sources of data, including the FBI, the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Education and the Census Bureau. Rankings are based on a number of criteria, including premature death, infant mortality, preventable hospitalizations, high school graduation rate, violent crime, health insurance, child poverty, obesity, diabetes, physical activity and immunizations.
Among other general findings:
– While 27.6 percent of adults are obese in the U.S., the percentage has not increased from the last year (it was 27.8 percent in 2012). The report also showed that 9.7 percent of adults have diabetes. – The infant mortality rate has decreased 39 percent since 1990. – Fewer people are dying from heart-related disease; cardiovascular deaths decreased 36 percent since 1990. – Fewer people are also dying from cancer: Deaths from the disease decreased 3 percent since 1990.
Take a look at the list below to see the top 10 states and the bottom 10 states in the 2013 ranking:
Top 10: 1. Hawaii – Fewer people in Hawaii are lighting up, with […]

Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps

Description
Based on a popular Chinese dish, these fun wraps also make appealing appetizers for entertaining. Make it a meal: Serve with chile-garlic sauce and rice vinegar for extra zip; toss diced mango and strawberries with lime juice for a quick dessert.
Ingredients
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup instant brown rice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (see Cooking Tips)
1 teaspoon five-spice powder (see Cooking Tips)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil, mint and/or chives
1 large carrot, shredded
Cooking Instructions
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice; reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey and ginger; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice, bell pepper, water chestnuts, broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder and salt; cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

To serve, spoon portions of the turkey mixture into lettuce leaves, top with herbs and carrot and roll into wraps.
Cook’s Tip

Hoisin sauce is a spicy, sweet sauce made from soybeans, chiles, garlic and spices. It will keep in the refrigerator for at least a year.
Often a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns, five-spice powder was originally considered a cure-all miracle blend encompassing the five elements (sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, salty). Look for it in the supermarket spice section.
To Make Ahead: Prepare the filling (through Step 2), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Serve cold […]

Does Cooking Strip Red Wine’s Benefits?

 Are the health benefits of red wine still available if the wine is reduced by half through cooking and then consumed with the food?
The short answer is probably yes: You can drink your wine and cook it too.
Red wine essentially has two properties that make it good for health when consumed in moderation. One is its alcohol content, which is known to increase “good” HDL cholesterol and reduce levels of fibrinogen, a precursor of blood clots. The other is its abundance of polyphenols, natural compounds like resveratrol that, according to some studies, can protect blood vessels and help reduce inflammation.
Although it is widely assumed that alcohol in food burns off completely during cooking, that is not always the case. According to research by the Agriculture Department, the amount of alcohol that remains varies widely, depending on the cooking method. A sauce that is made with wine and simmered and stirred for 30 minutes, for example, can retain as much as a third of its alcohol content.
A red wine reduction requires a fairly lengthy cooking period, so it is likely that much of the alcohol evaporates along with water during the cooking process. But red wine without alcohol still appears to have some health benefits.
In a small randomized clinical trial published in the journal Circulation Research last year, Spanish researchers found that men who were assigned to drink 10 ounces of nonalcoholic red wine daily experienced a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure after four weeks. “There is growing evidence,” an accompanying editorial pointed out, “that chemical constituents present in red wine confer health benefits beyond alcohol and independent of potential confounding factors.”
In another study published in 2011 in The Journal of Cardiovascular […]

Herbed Veggie Skillet

Serves 4; 1/2 cup per serving
Ingredients

2 teaspoons canola or corn oil
8 ounces zucchini, sliced
1/4 cup sliced onion
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
3/4 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1/3 cup diced tomato
2 tablespoons water (plus more if needed)
1/8 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon (scant) dried oregano, crumbled
Pepper to taste

Nutrition Facts

Calories 69
Total Fat 2.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 9 mg
Carbohydrates 11 g
Fiber 2 g
Sugars 3 g
Protein 2 g

Dietary Exchanges
1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat
Preparation

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the zucchini, onion, and bell pepper for 3 minutes, or until the onion is soft, stirring frequently.

Stir in the remaining ingredients except the pepper. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender, adding more water if necessary. Sprinkle with the pepper.

AHA

Spinach-Stuffed Baked Salmon

Serves 4; 3 ounces fish and 1/2 cup vegetables per serving
Ingredients
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 ounces spinach
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained if bottled
1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts Cooking spray
4 salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each), rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (lowest sodium available)
2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs (lowest sodium available)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Nutrition Facts
Calories   208
Total Fat 8.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 65 mg
Sodium 280 mg
Carbohydrates 6 g
Fiber 1 g
Sugars 1 g
Protein 27 g
Preparation

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the spinach and lemon zest for 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted, stirring constantly. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the roasted peppers, basil, and walnuts. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.

Cut a lengthwise slit in the side of each fillet to make a pocket for the stuffing. Be careful to not cut through to the other side. With a spoon or your fingers, carefully stuff a scant 1/2 cup spinach mixture into each fillet. Transfer to the baking sheet. With a pastry brush or spoon, spread the mustard over the fish.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over the fish. Lightly spray the top with cooking spray.

Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the fish is the desired doneness and the filling is heated through.

 
AHA
 

Spinach Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Serves 4; 2 cups salad and 2 tablespoons dressing per serving
Ingredients
6 ounces spinach
2 medium Italian plum (Roma) tomatoes, sliced crosswise
1 ounce (1/4 cup) crumbled soft goat cheese
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon imitation bacon bits
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, dry-roasted
Dressing
2 teaspoons olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
2 medium green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Nutrition Facts
Calories 105
Total Fat 6.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.0 g
Cholesterol 3 mg
Sodium 92 mg
Carbohydrates 10 g
Fiber 2 g
Sugars 6 g
Protein 4 g
 
Dietary Exchanges
1 vegetable, 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1 fat
Preparation

In a large serving bowl, make one layer each, in order, of the spinach, tomatoes, goat cheese, bacon bits and almonds.

In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the green onions for 1 to 2 minutes, or until almost soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining dressing ingredients. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the brown sugar is dissolved and the mixture is heated through, stirring occasionally. Pour over the salad.

 
AHA
 

Make Fast Food Friendlier

Feeding your children nutritious meals between all your daily activities can be a challenge. While you zoom back and forth between soccer practice, the dance recital, the PTA meeting and picking up the dry cleaning, you’re lucky to find time to grab a meal at the drive-thru. If you must eat on the go, here are some tips to make fast food healthier for you and your family members:
Pass on the “value-size.” When you supersize, the size of your fries isn’t the only thing that gets bigger.
Skip the sides. Eating a burger or sandwich by itself is often filling enough. If you do want a side, consider ordering a fruit cup or side salad. Most fast food restaurants now offer them.
Avoid double meat and bacon. A serving size of meat is 2-3 ounces — about the size of a deck of cards. You’re probably getting well over that with a single meat patty. Bacon is high in calories and fat with little nutrient content.
Try the grilled chicken sandwich. Poultry without skin is significantly leaner than the meats most fast-food companies use in their burgers.

Eat your sandwich open-faced. By eating only half the bun, you can eliminate unnecessary calories.
Ask for a wheat bun. Some places offer a wheat alternative, some don’t. It never hurts to ask.
Skip the mayo and other sauces. These dressings and sauces add unnecessary calories.
Drink water, diet soda or low-fat milk. Sodas are loaded with sugars, which have calories you don’t need.
 
 
American Heart Association