Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 18, Tuesday, May 01, 2012




Healthy heart

Abdullah Tareq

Does a healthy diet necessarily mean giving up everything that makes our mouth water? Not really. eating healthy doesn't necessarily mean bland food and just salads, it's about knowing what to eat and what to limit. Although we might know eating certain foods can increase our chances of getting heart diseases, it's often tough to change our eating habits. This is why it is important to know what to eat and what to limit. Here are a few healthy recipes and diet information to help you on your way towards a heart-healthy diet.

The most important thing to do is to limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Of all the possible changes, limiting how much saturated and trans fats we eat is the most important step to take to reduce our blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of coronary artery diseases. The best way to reduce saturated and trans fats in the diet is to limit the amount of solid fats -- butter, margarine and shortening -- we add to food when cooking and serving. You can also reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by trimming fat off your meat or choosing lean meats with less fat.

When you do use fats, choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and seeds, also are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your total blood cholesterol level. But moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories

Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and egg whites are some of your best sources of protein. Fish is a good alternative to high-fat meats. And certain types of fish are heart-healthy because they're rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides. Other sources are flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil.

Legumes -- beans, peas and lentils -- are also good sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat.

Tuna and mixed bean salad with lemon dressing
Ingredients (serves 6)
2 x 185g cans tuna in spring water, drained
750g can four bean mix, drained, rinsed
4 tomatoes, deseeded, chopped
2 large celery sticks, trimmed, finely chopped
1 small red onion, halved, thinly sliced
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Lemon dressing
1 large lemon, rind finely grated, juiced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon caster sugar

Flake tuna and place in a large bowl. Add beans, tomato, celery, onion and parsley. Make lemon dressing: Combine lemon rind, 2 tbsps lemon juice, garlic, oil and sugar in a screw-top jar. Secure lid and shake until well combined. Pour dressing over salad. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve.

Grilled sea bass
Sea bass is known as Coral or Bhetki fish in our country. Its available in any fish market.
Ingredients (serves 2)
2 white sea bass fillets, each 4 ounces
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic, minced
¼ tsp mixed herbs
Salt and Ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the grill pan. Lightly coat the pan with oil. Place the fillets in the pan. Sprinkle the lemon juice, garlic, herbs and salt and pepper over the fillets. Grill until the fish is opaque throughout when tested with a tip of a knife, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately

Orange rosemary roasted chicken
Rosemary is a herb with a piney flavor which can season a variety of foods including roasted potatoes, mushrooms, stuffing, ripe melon, poultry and meats. Too much can be overpowering.
Ingredients(Serves 6)
3 skinless, bone-in chicken breast halves
3 skinless, bone-in chicken legs with thigh pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tsp fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, minced
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup orange juice
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Lightly coat a baking pan with oil. Rub each piece of chicken with garlic. Dab fingers in oil and rub with oil, and sprinkle with rosemary and pepper. Place the chicken pieces in the baking dish. Pour the orange juice over the chicken. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken and return to the oven until browned, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Baste the chicken with the orange juice from the pan as needed to prevent it from drying out. Transfer the chicken to individual serving plates. Spoon orange juice from the pan over the top of the chicken and serve immediately.

Beef and vegetable kebabs
Marinating meat before grilling not only adds flavor but also helps keep meat from burning and charring. If you can't find sirloin, you can use rib eye or tenderloin instead. And if you don't have cherry tomatoes, just cut firm tomatoes into wedges.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
½ cup brown rice
2 cups water
120 g sirloin
3 tbsps Italian dressing
1 green capsicum, seeded and cut into 4 pieces
4 cherry tomatoes
1 small onion, cut into 4 wedges
2 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes, or metal skewers

In a saucepan over high heat, combine the rice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add more water if necessary to keep the rice from drying out. Transfer to a small bowl to keep warm.

Cut the meat into 4 equal portions. Put the meat in a small bowl and pour Italian dressing over the top. Put in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to marinate, turning as needed.

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat grill pan. Lightly coat the grill pan with oil.

Thread 2 cubes of meat, 2 green pepper slices, 2 cherry tomatoes and 2 onion wedges onto each skewer. Place the kebabs on the grill pan. Grill the kebabs for about 5 to 10 minutes, turning as needed.

Divide the rice onto individual plates. Top with 1 kebab and serve immediately.

Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals; they are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. Eating more fruits and vegetables helps you eat less high-fat foods, such as meat, cheese and snack foods.

Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. You can increase the amount of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products. Another easy way to add whole grains to your diet is ground flaxseed. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are called Tishi in Bangla. You can get them in new market, gulshan 1 and 2 markets. They are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your total blood cholesterol. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and stir a teaspoon of them into yogurt, juice or hot cereal.

Orange Flax Smoothie
This bright orange smoothie gets its color from the carrot and orange juice. Fresh ginger packs a flavorful punch. You can store the Flax seeds in the refrigerator or freezer. This smoothie is high in fiber and low in fat and cholesterol.

2 cups canned peach slices
1 cup carrot juice
1 cup orange juice
2 tbsps ground flaxseed
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
Combine peaches, carrot juice, orange juice, flaxseed and ginger in blender; blend until smooth. Serve immediately.


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