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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Heart on bread

A Healthy Heart

Are you wearing red today? Today is the first day of American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign. So it's time to pamper this loving organ with nutritionally sound foods your heart will appreciate. There are many heart healthy foods to include in your diet, but here are three that your heart will fall for.

1. Salmon: Salmon is a type of fatty fish that supplies higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, and may have a protective effect against heart disease. Whether canned, fresh or frozen you'll receive the nutritional benefits of eating salmon. Try adding canned salmon to a cold pasta salad or make salmon burgers by mixing canned salmon with eggs, breadcrumbs and spices. Fresh or frozen salmon that has been thawed can be seared for two minutes on each side in a couple teaspoons of olive oil and then baked in the oven at 425°F for four to 6 minutes until the flesh flakes with a fork.

2. Oats: Oats are a whole grain food with soluble fiber that can help remove the cholesterol from your body, thereby lowering blood cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. Steel-cut oats are the least processed. But they are chewier in texture and take longer to cook. Rolled oats are whole oats that have been rolled flat. They are still whole grain, are only mildly processed, and have virtually the same nutrient profile as steal cut oats. Oatmeal is the easiest use of oats. See the recipe below for super easy pumpkin oatmeal using canned pumpkin, and try adding some heart healthy walnuts on top. You'll want oatmeal each and every morning!

3. Walnuts: Actually, the type of nut you eat isn't that important, although some nuts have more heart-healthy nutrients and fats than others. Walnuts, along with almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans, contain an unusual combination of antioxidants and heart healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids that are protectors of heart disease. Walnuts can be eaten as a snack, coarsely ground and used as breading fish, pork or chicken, or sprinkled on a salad. But nuts are high in calories and can easily lead to weight gain if eaten in large portions.

Take care of your heart by including whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids and a lot of fruits and vegetables. Aim for regular periods of exercise to improve circulation and strengthen your heart. With these tips in mind, your heart will be happy.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

1 cup skim milk

¼ cup pumpkin puree

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 packets artificial sweetener

2 Tablespoon raisins

Combine oats and milk in a 2-cup microwavable bowl. Microwave on High for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Stir in pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweetener and raisins.

Yield: 1 serving

Nutritional Analysis per serving: 330 Calories, 3.5 grams fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 110 milligrams sodium, 62 grams carbohydrate, 16 grams protein

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