To stay fit, strong and guarantee a long, healthy life, the wellbeing of all organs in the body is essential, yet the heart plays a very important and central role in longevity. Composed of four distinct chambers and situated at the back and a bit to the left of the breastbone in the chest, the heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood to all cells, tissues in the body, at a rate of 60 – 100 beats per minute. And to safeguard this vital organ in the circulatory system that encompasses a grid of arteries, veins and sustains life, following a wholesome diet composed of proteins, fibres, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants is key. However, an additional nutrient that is indispensable for heart wellness is Omega-3.
Benefits Of Omega-3 For Heart Health:
Omega-3 is a type of unsaturated fatty acid compound that possesses a strong ability to lower inflammation in the human system. Numerous scientific studies have provided evidence that omega-3 fatty acids effectively reduce triglycerides, control blood pressure and even prevent abnormal blood clotting from occurring in the heart vessels. Moreover, they are beneficial in significantly lowering the risk of heart failure, stroke and instances of irregular heartbeats in the body.
Different varieties of fish are the best sources of omega-3, including salmon, tuna, herring, cod, mackerel. Nevertheless, many plant-based foods also supply tremendous amounts of omega-3, such as dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, tofu, flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds.
Nourishing Recipes High In Omega-3 To Uplift Heart Functions:
In case you are wondering how to whip up some nutritious vegetarian meals enriched with omega-3 food sources to enhance cardiac health, look no further. We bring you two simple, quick and salubrious recipes of Tofu Spinach Casserole and Blueberry Banana Smoothie that are also delicious, for a healthy heart.
Tofu Spinach Casserole
400 grams silken tofu, cut into cubes
2 cups spinach leaves, stem/stalk removed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium-sized carrot, grated
1 small red bell pepper, cut into pieces
A 1-inch ginger piece, minced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper powder
2 large tomatoes, blended into a puree
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit i.e. 205 degrees Celcius.
In a non-stick pan, cook the tofu in a bit of olive oil, adding salt, pepper for 5 – 7 minutes so it becomes firm.
Heat olive oil in a wok, sauté the onions with ginger, garlic, then add spinach, carrots, bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes.
Combine the firm tofu with cooked vegetables in a bowl, add tomato puree and transfer the mixture to a rectangular baking tray or into circular muffin compartments lined with olive oil.
Bake at 205 degrees Celcius for 15 minutes and relish the tofu spinach casserole warm for lunch.
Tofu and spinach are excellent plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which work wonders in improving heart functions. Moreover, tofu offers ample proteins for growth, development, muscle strength, spinach is a storehouse of iron to resolve anaemia, fatigue and olive oil is rich in vitamin E for protective antioxidant activity against cancer.
Blueberry Banana Smoothie
1 cup blueberries
3 medium-sized bananas, ripe, peeled and chopped
1 cup low-fat milk or almond milk (as per choice of vegetarian or vegan)
2 tbsp flaxseeds
Grind the flaxseeds at a high speed to obtain a coarse powder.
Transfer the blueberries, bananas, almond milk and ground flaxseeds to a blender and pulse for about 5 minutes until a smooth, homogenous mixture is formed.
Pour this creamy blueberry smoothie into a tall glass, store it in the fridge for 15 – 20 minutes and enjoy it chilled along with breakfast.
Bestowed with anthocyanins, blueberries augment cardiac operations by preventing the clogging of arteries, as well as averting the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium which relaxes the blood vessels leading up to the heart and effectively lowers high blood pressure and alleviates symptoms of hypertension like arrhythmia, palpitations. Imbued with omega-3 compounds, flaxseeds uplift cardiac muscle activity and ensure a healthy heart.