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Eat your way to a healthy heart

Posted By Christine Junge On October 17, 2011 @ 12:41 pm In Diet and Weight Loss,Healthy Eating | Comments Disabled

When it comes to maintaining or improving your heart’s health, which is more important, your kitchen cabinets or your bathroom’s medicine cabinet? You’ll probably guess your medicine cabinet. But the truth is, you should start with your kitchen cabinets, along with your pantry, refrigerator, and grocery list. That’s because what you eat influences many of the things that contribute to heart disease, including:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • inflammation
  • and electrical instability and function of the heart.

The foods you choose can make these factors better, or worse.

Which foods are heart healthy and which aren’t? Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart, a newly revised Special Health Report from Harvard Health Publications, details a heart-healthy eating plan that you can follow for the rest of your life—while still enjoying the foods you eat. The report is based in part on a comprehensive review article on the subject of nutrition and heart disease that was published in the journal Circulation. This review presented scientific evidence on the effects selected foods have on the heart.

Some of the best choices include fish, vegetables, and whole grains. To see a more complete list, check out this chart.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart also includes 39 recipes of healthy, delicious, and easy-to-make foods. Here’s one example. If you try it, let me know what you think!

Tropical Grilled Chicken Breasts with Papaya

Makes 4 servings


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, without added salt or brine
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon cilantro seed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 medium papaya
4 ounces lime juice
2 limes


1) Prepare the grill.

2) Combine the chicken, olive oil, and spices in a shallow pan. Mix thoroughly so the chicken is well covered with spices.

3) Peel the papaya, remove the seeds, and cut the fruit into 2-inch cubes. Pour the lime juice on the papaya and divide the papaya cubes among the four skewers.

4) Cut the limes in half.

5) Place the prepared chicken breasts on the grill along with the papaya skewers and lime halves.

6) Turn the chicken every three minutes until done, after about 12 minutes. Turn the papaya skewers often. After about five minutes, use tongs to squeeze the cooked limes onto the papaya skewers. Continue cooking until all sides are light brown, about another five minutes.

Nutrition information per serving
Calories 290
Total fat 18 g
Saturated fat 3 g
Cholesterol 65 mg
Sodium 70 mg
Total carbohydrate 12 g
Fiber 2 g
Protein 23 g

Related Information: Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart

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