Tag Archives: olive oil

5 Wholesome Healthy Heart Foods

The sudden influx of the UK health conscious culture over the last decade has caused many of us to take a long hard look at ourselves ask one simple question – How can I be healthier? Dramatic and unsustainable lifestyle changes really don’t work, so many of us have taken to the idea of changing a small part of our lifestyle one piece at a time. Joining the gym is an option that works for many, but a commonly overlooked area is taking a look at the foods we eat. With coronary heart disease still standing as the number 1 killer in the United Kingdom according the National Office of Statistics, changing what we eat on a day-to-day basis will have a dramatic effect on our heart health.

Although year-on-year statistics are falling with medical advances in science, and as a Nation are making changes in our day-to-day lives, there is still room for improvement. There are obvious requirements such as exercising regularly, eating healthier and drinking less alcohol – but keeping a healthy heart can as simple as avoiding the salt soaked fat induced morsels that tempt up on a daily basis.

Take a look at our recommended 5 wholesome hearty foods and try integrating them today:

Olive Oil

Used daily by the inhabitants of the Mediterranean isles, olive oil has been shown to help regulate blood flow, whilst being rich in healthy mono-saturated fats. According a new 2012 study compiled by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “just 2 tablespoons of olive oil per day almost halves your risk of dying from heart disease”. It’s important to look at swapping saturated fats such as butter or lard that raise the risk of heart disease,  for unsaturated fats like olive oil to help lower your overall cholesterol.

Suggestion: Drizzle over your favourite salad leaves or roasted vegetables! 

Pears

Apples and pears are naturally high in fibre and antioxidants, hence the encouragement to try and eat one at least once a day. The fibre in pears however is made from “pectin” water soluble fibres which has been shown to reduce cholesterol by binding molecules in the bowel instead allowing them to circulate through the bloodstream. Pears also contain antioxidant flavonoids which help to support your cardiovascular health inhibiting plaque formations in the arteries.

Suggestions: Eat as you would normally or try sliced as a dessert or into salads. 

Blueberries

Known as one of the most powerful fruits money can buy, blueberries are powerful disease fighters loaded with antioxidants which work to protect the body against free radicals. The unique blue pigmentation comes from anthocyanins, responsible for providing most of the anti-oxidant properties. Rich in vitamin C, Blueberries are packed with fibre which is essential for lowering your cholesterol levels.

Suggestions: Delicious on their own or sprinkled over your breakfast cereal 

Garlic

Forget the fact that Garlic is the last thing you want to eat on a first date – Garlic is a pocket-sized superfood you simply don’t want to ignore. This spice has been shown to cure and alleviate a number of medical ailments for decades. Research into the properties of garlic and the cause of it’s wonder-powers show how it decreases the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries. Lower calorific values of just 10 calories per clove make them a healthy way of adding flavour to any dish. Garlic also contains allicin which helps to keep blood flowing easily, reducing your blood pressure overall.

Suggestion: Crushed into most foods for added flavour or roasted with vegetables & sweet potatoes

Mackerel

Oily fish such as herring, sardines and mackerel contain high levels of omega-3 – a vital ingredient for improving your overall heart health. The British Heart Foundation recommends that you consume at least two portions of fish each week, with a portion of oily fish at least once a week. Consuming fish this regularly has been shown to help decrease blood pressure, regulate heart beat and make blood less susceptible to clotting.

Suggestion: Steamed with a squeeze of lemon for flavour – delicious! 

 

 

6 Super Foods you can afford

Healthy organic produce has been criticised for being too expensive, but many don’t understand that production costs are significantly higher with the need for more manual labour etc. With these costs being passed onto the consumer, many of us tend to think that eating healthy has to be expensive. That’s where you’re wrong!

Trying to eat healthy on a budget can be difficult for many of us, which the constraints of family life & work taking their toll on our energy levels and purse strings. But you don’t have to spend excessive amounts of your budget to eat healthier.

In addition to a good nights sleep, your nutrition can have a drastic long term effect on how you feel throughout the day. By incorporating just one of these super six, you’re guaranteed to see a dramatic change in how you feel as an individual without having to spend more than your bargained for:

 

1. Bananas

It’s been said by many that excessive consumption of bananas can be fattening – this myth doesn’t stand strong in the face of truth. Bananas are higher in levels of immediate energy than most other fruits, but the higher calorie contents comes from the level of carbohydrates in the fruit. Relatively cheap for a bunch of them from most supermarkets, be sure to buy green & ripen at home if you want them to last.

2. Tea

Drank my many across the UK, the iconic British cuppa dons a whole host health properties that you probably didn’t know about. In addition the caffeine kick which increases alertness levels, a cup of tea also helps towards your recommend water intake of 6 pints a day. Tea is also one of the cheapest household staples, with 80 tea bags costing approximately £1.

3. Yoghurt

Often credited for the digestive benefits it can provide to the intestine, yoghurt works as a great milk substitute for those who don’t settle well with high levels of lactose. High in calcium & packed with “friendly” bacteria, yoghurt can be purchased cheaply from most supermarkets. Smaller pots make great lunch companions, and can be purchased in handy multi packs.

4. Wholegrain Seedy Bread

Available as a healthy alternative to your standard white bread, wholegrain seedy loaves containing a lot of seeds and nuts naturally have a low GI. Sandwiches made from seedy bread helps to keep your fibre levels high, assisting in the gut towards an efficient digestive process.

5. Olive Oil

Although not the cheapest cooking accompaniment, olive oil is worth the extra expense over other oils. Several studies have demonstrated that mono saturated fat in olive oil is good for the heart, helping to lower bad cholesterol levels and increase the good ones. Although high in calories, a little goes a long way – you don’t need more than a teaspoon when cooking.

6. Broccoli

A staple “green” vegetable that’s widely available at relatively cheap prices, Broccoli is packed with antioxidants  including vitamin C, as well as high levels of folic acid. Increasing your intake of folic acid has been shown to drastically reduce your chance of heart disease. Better still, just two florets of the stuff counts as a “vegetable” portion.

 Be sure to follow the Healthy Hideout on Twitter: @healthyhideout !

All image rights belong to their respective owners under the Creative Commons license.