February is American Heart Month and a group of health minded bloggers are gathering around to share lots of heart healthy recipes this week with a Gluten-Free & Heart Healthy 2013 recipe roundup. It’s my turn today, and I’m sharing a dish chock full of heart healthy ingredients – Walnut Crusted Seared Wasabi Salmon served with a tangy Warm Napa Cabbage Salad and Steamed Brown Rice.
Before we get to the recipe, I’d like to take a moment to share some heart healthy tidbits since what we eat can have a huge impact on heart health. There is no silver bullet food that will on its own prevent heart disease; rather, it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet that includes a wide variety of heart-healthy, nutrient-rich foods to ensure that our bodies get the maximum benefit of all the phytonutrients available to us to help prevent and repair cell damage.
Eating a wide assortment of whole foods (natural, unprocessed foods) is important to heart health. Fruits (blueberries, oranges, mangoes, papaya) and vegetables (carrots, spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, red bell pepper, asparagus, tomatoes, acorn squash) come in all different shapes, colors and sizes, and each one contains a powerful dose of phytonutrients that helps prevent heart disease by wiping out free radicals.
Just as important are whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice), beans and legumes (black beans, kidney beans, soybeans), nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, flaxseed), fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines), and teas, which are also rich in heart-protective phytonutrients. Another important element in a heart healthy diet is food that is low in sodium.
Since each food has its own unique nutrition profile, we need to eat a variety of these heart-healthy foods to get the full spectrum of nutrients and receive the most heart protective qualities.
Let’s take a look at all the heart healthy ingredients in today’s recipe:
- Walnuts – good fat, good source of protein, fiber
- Salmon – rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Napa Cabbage – cruciferous vegetable, milder tasting variety of cabbage with highest concentration of folate, high in vitamin K and C
- Carrots – high in vitamins A, K, C, and potassium; good source of fiber
- Red Bell Peppers – high in vitamins C, A , B6 and folate
- Brown Rice – high in manganese, selenium, magnesium and tryptophan; rich in fiber
- Sesame Seeds – high in copper, manganese, tryptophan, calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus; good source of fiber
- Olive Oil – heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acid
I’ve also prepared this dish in a heart healthy manner, using a little bit of monounsaturated fat – Olive Oil, and low-sodium soy sauce.
This salad is a twist on the Chopped Salmon Walnut Arugula Salad with Honey Wasabi Vinaigrette I made last year. The Warm Napa Cabbage Salad or slaw is perfect for the winter, while the Walnut Crusted Seared Wasabi Salmon is barely cooked (I love sushi). Be good to yourself and make this heart healthy dish for lunch or dinner. Your heart will thank you.
This meal has 541 calories, 31.8 grams fat, 3.7 grams saturated fat, 46.8 grams cholesterol, 377 mg sodium, 5.8 grams fiber, 25.5 grams protein.
Today, I’m featuring Walnuts as a Power Food. Walnuts are considered to be one of the best nuts for heart health. It’s easy to see why Walnuts are considered to be a Power Food once you take a look at all the benefits:
- Walnuts are an excellent source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats, which can reduce cardiovascular risk factors, including total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
- Walnuts are packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is a precursor to the EPA and DHA found in fish. Diets rich in ALA are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and lower levels of cholesterol.
- Walnuts also contain relatively high levels of the amino acid l-arginine, which may help with hypertension.
- Walnuts contain powerful antioxidants. Approximately 90% of the phenols in walnuts are found in the skin, including key phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonoids, so it’s best to eat walnuts with the skin on.
- Walnuts contain vitamin E in the form of gamma-tocopherol (versus alpha-tocopherol), which has been shown to provide significant protection from heart problems in studies on the cardiovascular health of men.
- Walnuts are a concentrated source of sleep-promoting tryptophan.
A quarter cup of walnuts contains 164 calories, and provides 6.7% DV dietary fiber, 90.8% DV Omega-3 Fatty Acids, 42.5% DV Manganese, 20% DV Copper, and 15.6% Tryptophan.
For more Heart Healthy recipe inspiration, check out this Heart Healthy Recipes Pinterest Board.
More Recipes with Walnuts (gluten-free)
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Cookies
Stir-Fry Spicy Kung Pao Chicken with Walnut
Chopped Salmon Arugula Walnut Salad with Wasabi Vinaigrette
Roasted Red Pepper Dip with Walnuts (Muhammara)
Georgian Spinach Walnut Balls
Eggplant and Walnut Dip
Roasted Beet, Apple and Walnut Salad
Quinoa Coconut Walnut Crunch Yogurt Berry Parfait
Chocolate Dipped Apricots with Nuts
Homemade Walnut Butter, My Healthy Eating Habits
Walnut Chutney, Spice Roots
Cheesy Pasta with Spinach Walnut Pesto, My Sweet and Savory
Leek Fennel Soup with Walnut Pesto, More Time At The Table
More Heart Healthy Recipes (gluten-free)
Soy Sesame Salmon Tartare
Honey Miso Glazed Salmon and Soba Noodles Soup
Stir-Fry Bok Choy with Shitake Mushrooms and Peppers
Stir-Fry Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper
Roasted Cauliflower with Potatoes
Rice Cooker Quinoa Pilaf with Mushrooms and Vegetables
Vegetarian Fried Rice
Burmese Fried Rice with Peas
Hot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Savory Asian-Inspired Oatmeal
Steel Cut Oatmeal with Blueberry Compote