October 24th, 2020

From Our Table: Eat foods rich in nutrients for heart health

By Joanne Smith on February 25, 2020.

Not only is February the lucky month to host Valentines Day, it’s also the designated month for Heart Health Awareness. This is an extremely important area of our health to keep on top of. That old saying is true, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Both diet and exercise play key roles in keeping your heart healthy.

Eating a wide variety of nutrient rich foods is one of the keys to a healthy heart. We’ve heard a lot lately about the benefits of plant based protein. I totally agree that these high protein low fat food source are very good. I also believe very strongly that variety in our diets is extremely important. It’s the only possible way we can get the 50-plus nutrients we need every day. Therefore beans, peas, lentils along with beef, pork, chicken and fish, for example, can all be protein sources eaten in moderation in a healthy diet.

For example, chicken is a staple in most households and is quite possibly one of the most versatile of all meats.

It can be great grilled or roasted ready to eat or used in a variety of dishes from soup to salad to satays.

Here are a few facts about chicken:

* A 3 ounce serving of skinless chicken breast provides:

* 165 calories

* 25 grams of high quality protein

* 4 grams of fat.

* if eaten with the skin on, the fat doubles to 8 grams

* calories increase to 200

* chicken contains an amino acid (a protein building block) called cysteine which helps with the immune system.

Fish is also a great heart health protein choice. It is rich in omega 3 fats vital to keeping the good cholesterol or HDL in your blood high. I’d like to talk more about fish in my next column since I’m quickly running out of space.

Let me leave you with a mouthwatering heart healthy chicken recipe. It’s full of nutrients including two protein sources with both chicken and peanuts. It has fresh ginger and garlic along with a variety of veggies packed with heart healthy antioxidants. All that aside, it’s just delicious!

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Ginger Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp hot pepper sauce (optional)

1 Tbsp peanut oil

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into size pieces

3 carrots, peeled and sliced thin

2 cups snow peas

1 cup celery, sliced thin

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced thin

2 bell peppers, washed, seeded and cut into thin strips

Chopped peanuts for garnish

Stir together soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, brown sugar, ginger and hot pepper sauce until well blended.

In a large wok or frying pan heat oil and add chicken, cook about 3-5 minutes or until no longer pink inside stirring often. Add all vegetables and stir fry until tender but brightly coloured and crisp. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve with noodles or rice.

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