Back in 2013, the theme for World Health Day was ‘Healthy Heart Beat, Healthy Blood Pressure’. (This year’s focus is Depression: Let’s talk.) With that in mind, we’ve selected five recipes that are full of heart-healthy ingredients that cause head and heart to say the same thing – ‘more of this, please’:
This salad is a league above limp lettuce pretenders. It’s got beetroot, a source of folic acid that research shows can help reduce risk of heart disease. It’s got carrot, packed with vitamin K, that like the beetroot is roasted (with spice) to draw out its sweet side. And it’s got pearl barley, too, which means it’s high in fibre, which helps control and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also gives the salad a robust heft, so it’ll be just as delicious at your desk as it was on the dinner table the night before.
We’ve had it wrong this whole time. It’s actually avocado, not absence, that makes the heart grow fonder. In this recipe, your friendly source of good, heart-healthy fats is rolled up with crunchy cabbage, crisp mangetout and a collection of vibrant green herbs. Prawns – we’ve used ready-cooked ones, because it’s plenty warm outdoors, so a spell away from the stove is welcome relief – help regulate heart rhythms and give the rolls substance. On the side sings a coriander-chilli dip – with flavours this punchy, there’s no need for salt.
This link is home to a who’s who of heart-cheering ingredients. Yogurt is boosted by tahini, a surprisingly solid source of magnesium (a mineral that helps support the heart by relaxing blood vessels). Radishes (which bring potassium) are quick-pickled with shallots. And then there’s the falafel: on the outside, it’s all ‘look at me’ with its bright colour (cheers, beets, herbs and spice). But real nutritional depth lies inside with chick peas, a brilliant and easy-to-get source of fibre and magnesium.
There are lots of ways to make your heart happy, but few cause it to flutter quite like these smoothie bowls can. The recipe is a blend of some of the most heart-beneficial ingredients under the sun (plus a few from the cupboard). There are bananas, spinach and strawberries that do their respective potassium and vitamin C things. A handful of oats provides magnesium, while nuts and seeds sprinkled on top brings a stack of unsaturated fats, minerals and vitamins. And the part your heart will love most? The bowls take just 10 minutes to make.
In theory mackerel is this recipe’s star. It’s full of omega-3 fatty acids so loved by our heart, while it’s smoky and charred because of the tandoori paste (from a jar, but you could make your own) and a blast on the griddle. But arguably the biggest revelation here – the trick you’ll use again and again – is lightly spicing then fiercely roasting broccoli for a fix of greens that’s at once nourishing and original.
No matter how it’s served, fish is always one of your heart’s favourite things. Find out why here.