Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability. The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack. In 2010, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 had a recurrent attack. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from one.1

* Exercise & proper nutrition will lower your chances of heart disease.

Daily Apple for Heart Health

Eating an apple each day may help to keep the cardiologist away. Daily apple consumption appears to help lower cholesterol, according to a small study at Florida State University. Researchers randomly assigned 160 women between the ages of 45 and 65 to eat 2.7 ounces of dried apples or dried plums (prunes) prunes every day for a year. Afterward, the investigators found that the women who ate the dried apples had reduced their total cholesterol by 14 percent and their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 23 percent. They also saw a four percent increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Even though the dried apples added 240 calories to the women’s daily diets, they lost an average of 3.3 pounds over the year – possibly because the apples and their fiber content provided a sense of fullness. Another benefit: a drop in levels of C-reactive protein, a substance in blood that is a marker for inflammation. High levels of CRP are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. The Florida State investigators also reported a drop in levels of lipid hydroperoxide, another substance that may indicate heart disease risk. Slight reductions of cholesterol and the other substances occurred among the women who ate prunes as well, but not to the extent seen among those who ate the dried apples.

My take? Apples really are good for you – as long as they’re fresh and organically grown. In addition to the encouraging results of the Florida State study, other research has shown that eating apples may reduce the risk of cancers of the colon, liver, prostate and lung (thanks to the flavonoids they contain). In addition, studies have shown that eating apples may reduce chronic cough and other respiratory symptoms, that people who eat the most apples (and pears) have the lowest risk of asthma, that eating an apple a day may reduce the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in smokers, and that for every 10 grams of fiber consumed daily, you may be able to lower your risk of developing heart disease by 14 percent and your risk of dying from heart disease by 27 percent. A single apple gives you five grams of fiber.

*Pair an apple with almond butter or peanut butter for a healthy snack or have it for dessert.

 

Healthy Heart Recipe: Salmon Panzanella

INGREDIENTS

8 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 thick slices day-old whole-grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (see Tip)

2 large tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium cucumber, peeled (if desired), seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

1 pound center-cut salmon, skinned (see Tip) and cut into 4 portions

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

 

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat grill to high.
  2. Whisk olives, vinegar, capers and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until combined. Add bread, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and basil.
  3. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Season both sides of salmon with salt and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill the salmon until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
  4. Divide the salad among 4 plates and top each with a piece of salmon.

 

TIPS & NOTES

 

Tips: If using fresh bread, you can grill the bread slices along with the salmon and then cut them into cubes. Alternatively, cut bread into cubes, place on a baking sheet and bake at 300°F until dry.

 

How to skin a salmon fillet: Place salmon fillet on a clean cutting board, skin-side down. Starting at the tail end, slip the blade of a long knife between the fish flesh and the skin, holding down firmly with your other hand. Gently push the blade along at a 30° angle, separating the fillet from the skin without cutting through either.

 

To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray before placing it on the grill.

 

NUTRITION

Per Serving: 362 calories; 21 g fat ( 3 g sat , 12 g mono ); 72 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 29 g protein; 5 g fiber; 386 mg sodium; 1002 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (67% daily value), Vitamin C (30% dv), Potassium (29% dv), Vitamin A (20% dv), Magnesium (18% dv), Excellent source of omega-3s

 

From EATING WELL

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