It’s no secret that the heart is the key to the human body. Like many other aspects of the body, it’s a muscle, except it has so many more functions. Still, at its very core, it’s like your biceps, your legs, or your abs – it needs to be taken care of.
Because of its importance in regulating the very necessities of daily life, it is imperative that you look after your heart. This can be difficult, as you can’t see your heart each day. Whereas you can see your biceps, your legs, or any part of your body getting bigger and stronger, you can’t see your heart doing so. But each day, treating it well makes it stronger and stronger.
February is American Heart Month, which focuses on cardiovascular health. During this month, the nation shines a spotlight on its number-one killer: heart disease. As part of this effort, we’re focusing on some ways that you can improve heart health in this week’s blog. Keep reading for more!
Exercise and Heart Health
The benefits of exercise are often stated. It can improve your overall wellness by improving physical strength, mental wellness and more! It’s also a key part of a healthy heart.
Studies show that exercise greatly increases heart health, and to reap these rewards, you don’t have to run three miles or complete an intense workout. There are plenty of options for you to choose from.
Each week, adults should aim for anywhere between three and five hours of moderate cardio. While this may seem like a lot, don’t worry – just a regular 30-minute walk counts! In fact, for older Americans, that’s the most common exercise.
Other ways to meet this recommendation include yoga, Pilates, strength training and jogging. Here are some of the suggestions we made in our Senior Workouts Blog
- Low-impact strength training
- Standing on one leg
Give that blog a read if you want to learn easy ways to get your cardio workouts in while remaining in the comfort of your own home!
Diet and Heart Health
At Sagora Senior Living, we’re all about crafting healthy, delicious culinary selections for residents. Our expert Culinary Directors work hard at creating meals that improve overall wellness, while tasting great in the process.
We have previously detailed how we help seniors improve brain health through diet, and how our Culinary Directors utilize ancient diets that have tremendous benefits.
Specifically, our culinary teams focus on low-inflammation diets like the Mediterranean Diet. Inflammation plays a large role in chronic illness, and reducing inflammation can lead to better heart health.
The Mediterranean Diet built upon the diets of those in Europe who had less heart disease and heart attacks within their population. The reason for this was simple, their traditional diets avoided some of the things in modern foods that can be harmful. Thus, it has become a diet that many follow in America.
Those who are trying to follow a Mediterranean Diet are encouraged to consume the following foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, herbs, species, extra virgin olive oil, fish and seafood.
The following foods should be consumed in moderation: poultry, cheese, refined yogurt, eggs and other dairy products.
Red meat, sugary beverages, refined oils and grains and processed meats (such as lunch meats) should be avoided or consumed rarely.
Here are some recipes that our Culinary Directors utilize to follow these recommendations:
Tuscan White Bean Soup
2 tablespoons oil
1 large red onion (188g) finely diced
4 ribs of celery finely diced
1 large carrot or two medium-sized carrots 226g, diced
5 cloves garlic (12g) minced
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried basil)
30 ounces of cooked white kidney beans
4 cups vegetable broth
½ cup water
1 cup kale shredded
juice of 1 lime
In a large, deep pot over medium heat, add the oil so that it heats up.
Add the onions, celery and carrots, salt and pepper. Stir together and allow to sauté for about 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the carrots are softened.
Add in the garlic and stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and the veggies begin to look caramelized.
Add in the Italian seasoning, and kidney beans and stir to combine.
Pour in the vegetable broth and stir again.
Bring to a boil, and then to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove 2 cups of the soup (with veggies in it – just scoop two cups out) and add to your blender. Add the ½ cup of water to that mix, and blend until completely smooth). Pour this mix back into your soup and stir to combine.
Stir in the kale and lime juice. The residual heat will help to add heat to all of these.
Allow soup to cool slightly then serve with some bread! Enjoy!
Spiced Pumpkin Soup
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup pumpkin puree
4 tablespoons butter
¼ medium onion, chopped
2 cloves roasted garlic, minced (recipe here)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon freshly minced ginger
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large bay leaf
½ cup heavy whipping cream
4 slices cooked bacon
3 tablespoons leftover bacon grease
Brown butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Once it’s dark golden in color, add onions, garlic, and ginger to the pan. Let cook for 2-3 minutes.
Once onions are translucent, add spices and stir in well. Let this cook for 1-2 minutes, then add pumpkin and chicken broth into the pan. Stir in well.
Bring to boil, then turn to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, use immersion blender to puree everything smooth.
Let simmer for an additional 20 minutes. In the meantime, cook 4 slices of bacon.
Once the soup is done, add heavy cream and bacon grease and mix in well.
Crumble bacon over the top and optionally add chopped parsley and 2 tbsp. sour cream
Seared Teriyaki Salmon
Marinade Salmon Ingredients
- 6 each 6 oz Salmon filet *
- ¼ cup sesame oil
- 3 tbl soy sauce
- 1 Tbl fresh minced garlic
- ½ Tbl fresh minced ginger
- 2 tbl fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbl fresh minced garlic
- ½ Tbl fresh minced ginger
- 1 Tbl corn starch
- 1 ½ Tbl water (for cornstarch slurry)
- 3 Tbl oil (for cooking)
- Combine all ingredients for the marinade, coat salmon completely set in cooler until ready to cook. *
- Marinate salmon for at least 2-3 hours.
- Place water, soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic and ginger in a medium sauce pot.
- Bring sauce to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Slowly add in the cornstarch slurry, stir constantly until desired thickness. Remove sauce from heat and taste, adjust seasoning to your liking bring back to a boil before serving.
- Place large sauté pan on stove top add oil place on medium heat until just start to shimmer. Lightly season salmon with salt and pepper if desired Place salmon skin side up*, sear both sides for about 1 minute. Turn salmon on to a lined cookie sheet, when all salmon are done place in preheated oven 350’F for about 12 minutes depending on you preference of doneness.
- Remove from oven, serve over steamed rice with sauteed baby bok choy ladle sauce over fish
- you can sub salmon filet with salmon steaks – these work well on the outdoor BBQ
- pull salmon from cooler about 20 minutes prior to use, this helps with cooking time.
- skin side will be the darker side of the fish
- garnish with sliced green onions.