Keeping your Heart Healthy

Categories: Healthy Eating, Well Nourished

By: Diana Tran, KSC Dietetic Intern 2019-20

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States for both men and woman. About 610,000 people die of heart disease every year, that’s approximately 1 in every 4 deaths. There are many contributing factors that may lead to the development of heart disease, but the main contributing factors are our lifestyle choices. This includes: lack of physical activity, poor diet, excessive alcohol use, smoking and others. Perhaps this is because balance is difficult to maintain in today’s society. People are constantly on the move; working long hours, lacking adequate amounts of sleep, have high stress levels, with little to no time to cook a healthy meal.

The key to having a healthy heart starts by nourishing your body with the right foods. This includes: eating foods low in saturated fat, Trans fat, sodium, including whole fruits, vegetables, and other foods high in fiber. All of this may seem overwhelming. However, focusing our attention on one positive change/addition at a time can help us successfully maintain this positive lifestyle changes.

A great start would be to incorporate more cabbage into our meals! Cabbage is New Hampshire’s Harvest vegetable of the month and is packed with vitamins and nutrients. In fact, 1 cup of raw green cabbage has: 2 grams of fiber, 85% of the Recommended Dietary Intake for Vitamin K, 54% of the RDI for Vitamin C, and 4% of the RDI for Potassium. Fiber contributes to healthy digestion and helps reduce the incidence of constipation. Vitamin K is important for helping our blood clot. Vitamin C can help reduce inflammation due to its antioxidant properties. Lastly, potassium rich foods can also help reduce your risk for high blood pressure which will help you maintain a healthy heart!

There are various types of cabbage which can contribute heart healthy nutrients. Cabbage can be cooked various ways to enhance and diversify its flavor. It can be roasted, baked, braised, sautéed, and cooked in soups. Try experimenting with cabbage and find what you like best! Below is a great recipe for cold weather cabbage soup.

 

White Bean Cabbage Soup

Ingredients: (Yields 4 bowls)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 head green cabbage, cored, and thinly sliced (4-5 cups)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes (low sodium)
  • 8 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 5 cups of Low Sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
Directions:
  1. In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrot, garlic and spices (coriander, paprika, oregano, pinch salt & pepper) then stir. Cook for additional 5 minutes and toss in the cabbage and stir until well combined.
  2. Pour in the tomatoes with their juices, tomato sauce and vegetable broth. Bring to a rapid boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until cabbage is just tender. Add the drained beans and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!

References:

  1. CDC, NCHS. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2013, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed Feb. 3, 2015
  2. 9 Impressive Health Benefits of Cabbage. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-cabbage
  3. Mcdonough, A. A., Veiras, L. C., Guevara, C. A., & Ralph, D. L. (2017). Cardiovascular benefits associated with higher dietary K vs. lower dietary Na : Evidence from population and mechanistic studies. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism,312(4). doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00453.2016
  4. Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin K. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminK-HealthProfessional/
  5. Ellulu, M. S., Rahmat, A., Ismail, P., Khazaai, H., & Abed, Y. (2015). Effect of vitamin C on inflammation and metabolic markers in hypertensive and/or diabetic obese adults: A randomized controlled trial. Drug Design, Development and Therapy, doi:10.2147/dddt.s83144
  6. Dietary Fiber. (2018, August 08). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/dietaryfiber.html
  7. Julie, Sechowski, J., Brenda, Christine, & Char. (2017, March 31). Easy White Bean Cabbage Soup. Retrieved from http://makingthymeforhealth.com/easy-white-bean-cabbage-soup/