“And the world, will be a better place. For you. And Me. You just wait and see.” – Jackie DeShannon
Need some heart healthy recipes? Want fresh and delicious foods that aren’t bland? I’ve got your back!
A very dear friend of mine recently suffered a mild heart attack. He asked me to give him some recipes that would help improve his diet for heart health. So folks, you know what that means, right? Yep. I’m zeroing in on some heart healthy recipes!
Let’s talk about the heart a bit, first.
We all know the essentials of what the heart does for us. It pumps blood, which carries oxygen and nutrients through every part of our body. It also sends deoxygenated blood to our lungs to keep them pumping so we can breathe. When the ol’ ticker has trouble going with the flow, our body lets us know something’s wrong.
The primary symptoms of a heart attack are:
* Consistent deep, often severe discomfort or pain in the chest. (a feeling like the chest is being squeezed)
* Pain or discomfort in the arms, neck, back, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath.
* Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, vomiting and/or light-headedness.
According to the MayoClinic.Org, “A heart attack occurs when one or more of your coronary arteries become blocked. Over time, a coronary artery can narrow from the buildup of various substances, including cholesterol (atherosclerosis). This condition, known as coronary artery disease, causes most heart attacks.”
Okay. Dealing with an artery blockage or even a partial blockage is a scary thought! The biggest contributor to clogged arteries is…. you guessed it, bad cholesterol. So how do we change that? DIET!
Of course you need proper rest, exercise and lowered stress but the BIG thing to focus on is what’s going in your body.
Mind you, I am not a health professional. Please, please, please consult with your doctor if you’re having symptoms of a heart attack or any issues with your heart.
I am, however, pretty savvy when it comes to whipping up a heart-healthy recipe or two. So let’s talk about what we do want and what we don’t want in our diet for heart health. What we don’t want are foods that are high in bad saturated fats, trans fats or bad cholesterol. That means, no fried foods, avoiding too much red meat because it’s heavy in fats and limiting salt, sugar and white flour.
What we do want are foods that are rich in antioxidants and lots of vitamins like fruits and vegetables. We want lean proteins like fish and beans and we need whole grains for extra dietary fiber.
I happened to be in the middle of creating this recipe when I got the request from my friend and thought, well this one is perfect for him!
Onions and garlic are excellent choices for heart health because they’re fabulously rich in antioxidants!
Put those vitamin C rich red bell peppers on there and a drizzle of olive oil for the “MUFA” factor and we’ve got a great treat for our heart health! (MUFA’s are monounsaturated fatty acids, plant-based fats that help raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol in the body.)
I went ahead and roasted all of my red peppers while I was at it but you really only need one for this recipe. I like to freeze the extra ones and save them for other recipes.
By the way, my house smelled AMAZING when these guys were roasting!
If you think roasted garlic smells delicious, wait till you smell roasted peppers along with roasted onion and garlic together! OH MY!
The only change I’d make here to make this recipe completely heart healthy is the bread. I would have used a hearty whole grain bread that’s filled with seeds and sprouted grains such as, Ezekiel 4:9 brand instead of this French bread. You can find the Ezekiel 4:9 bread in most grocer’s freezer section where the health foods are. It’s close to the produce section in most of the stores here in Florence, Ky.
To add even more great vitamins and antioxidants to our dish, lets throw on some fresh herbs! Any excuse to use my herbs is a good one 🙂
Here, I’ve got (clockwise, starting from the top left) Oregano, Thyme, Basil, Parsley and Tarragon. YUMMO!
Oh, and Whoops! LOL I burned the first batch of bread.. Don’t put it under the broiler on high for three minutes to toast it like I did. Good thing I bought two loaves. Hee Hee..
The second loaf went under the broiler on low for two minutes.
These babies are loaded with good for you vitamins and antioxidants! And, they taste GREAT! Pretty, huh?
Like I said, I’m not a health care professional and if you’re having any kind of symptoms of heart problems, PLEASE go see your doctor right away.
If you’re looking for some heart healthy recipes, I’ll be posting them all week here on Happy Belly Foodie for you fine foodie friends. You can also see a few of my previous recipes that are heart healthy. Here’s a few to try: Post to Post Links II error: No post found with slug "roasted-red-pepper-hummus-on-trial", Post to Post Links II error: No post found with slug "pan-seared-sea-bass-overcoming-fish-fears", Grilled Tuna Salad, Tabbouleh Salad ~ Featuring fresh ramps, What a Pear! ~ An energizer snack plus tips on how to have an endless supply of fresh ginger!, Apples, Honey, Cinnamon and Bee Pollen ~ getting your vitamins in the right way!, Post to Post Links II error: No post found with slug "greens-those-complimentary-veggies-plus-bonus-sauteed-mushrooms".
If you’ve got any special requests for a diet change you wanna make, let me know and I’ll do my best to help ya out! If you’d like to share any heart healthy recipes I’d love to do a guest feature on here. You can contact me through any of those social buttons up there or by email at Happybellyfoodie@hotmail.com.
Make it a great week y’all! Till next time ~ much love, Connie
- 2 large onions
- 6 garlic cloves
- kosher salt (may omit)
- fresh ground black pepper
- olive oil for drizzling
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 loaf of bread (baguette style of your choice), sliced into 1 inch thick pieces
- 1 half cup of fresh chopped herbs (I used Oregano, Thyme, Basil, Parsley and Tarragon)
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut a quarter inch slice off the top and bottom of both onions.
- Using a small spoon, scoop out a hole in the middle of of the top of each onion.
- Place three whole garlic cloves in the hole of each onion.
- Sprinkle a small amount of the salt and pepper on top of the onions.
- Drizzle olive oil over the top and wrap both onions tightly in foil.
- Place the onions and the red bell pepper on a foil lined baking sheet into the middle rack of the oven.
- After thirty minutes, remove the pepper from the oven and wrap tightly in foil until the onions are done.
- After 1 hour, the onions and garlic should be very soft and a knife should easily go through the center of them. Remove the onions from oven and allow to cool.
- When they are easy to handle, place them and all the juices from the foil in a bowl and mash them with a potato masher or a fork until they are a paste like consistency.
- Unwrap the pepper and peel the skin off and discard. Pull out the stem and seeds and discard them. Finely dice the cleaned pepper.
- Place the bread slices on a baking sheet in the oven on the top rack and broil on low for two minutes.
- Spread the onion and garlic mixture over the tops of the bread slices.
- Sprinkle a generous portion of the fresh herbs over each piece of bread.
- Add a spoon full of the diced red pepper to each one and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan.
- Place the pan with the Crostino in the oven one last time under the broiler on low for two minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Recipe by: Connie Murray @Happybellyfoodie.com