Sunday, January 4, 2009

Better Bones and Heart

I think most of us realize that our bodies need calcium, but did you know that Vitamin D and Phosphorus work together with calcium to build stronger bones?

Leafy greens and vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli contain calcium, but the body absorbs calcium best from dairy products. Dairy is abundant not only with calcium, but in phosphorous and vitamin D as well. Some non dairy foods high in calcium include canned salmon, sardines and fortified tofu.

Anything 'green' is still good for bones. Broccoli, kale, bok choy contain a little calcium, but offer vitamin K, which boosts bone mineralization.

Whole grains, fatty fish, fresh fruits and vegetables help keep our heart in good condition. Two and a half servings of whole grains each day can reduce heart attack and stroke by 21%. Whole grains are rich in antioxidants and vitamin E. Almonds, peanuts and green leafy vegetables also contain vitamin E, which help maintain our blood vessels.

Soluble fiber from fruits fruits, vegetables and nuts help to lower harmful LDL cholesterol and control weight, which aids in heart health.

You can also cut your risk of heart attack further by eating fish high in omega 3 (like salmon, mackerel or trout). Omega 3 makes platelets in our blood less sticky and helps reduce clotting.

Omega 3 can also be find in walnuts and flaxseed.

The below recipe offers fiber, whole grains, plenty of Vitamins B6 and E, and folate to maintain heart health:

Wild Rice and Barley Salad
1 3/4 cups fat free, less sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup cooked brown and wild rice mix
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
3/4 cup rinsed ad drained chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup sliced Green onions
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.Remove from heat, let stand, covered for about 5 minutes. Spoon rice mixture into medium bowl. Add chickpeas, raisins and green onions.

Combine vinegar and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk. Pour over barley mixture. toss well. over and chill about 2 hours. Stir in the basil and almonds.
Servings: 8

No comments: