February 5, 2016

Try these healthier options to take good care of your heart.


It’s National Wear Red Day. Why Go Red for Women? The American Heart Association warns that heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year. The good news: Education and action can prevent about 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events.

Start your changes with these heart-healthy recipes provided by the American Heart Association — perfect for healthier party food, or every day.


Greek Seven-Layer Dip

Serves 8; 1/4 cup dip and 3 pita wedges per serving

1 1/2 6-inch whole-wheat pita pockets (lowest sodium available), cut into 12 wedges, tops and bottoms separated (24 wedges total)
Cooking spray
1 cup canned no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup loosely packed baby spinach, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 medium tomato, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 medium cucumber, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons crumbled fat-free feta cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the pita wedges in a single layer on a large baking sheet without overlapping the wedges. Lightly spray the tops of the wedges with cooking spray.
2. Bake for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly crisp (the pita wedges will crisp more as they cool).
3. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, process the chickpeas until coarsely chopped. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the lemon juice and process until blended. Add the water and pepper. Process until smooth.
4. Arrange the spinach on a serving plate. Gently spread the chickpea mixture on top, leaving a border of the spinach. Sprinkle the oregano over the spread. Arrange the tomato on the spread. Top, in order, with the cucumber, mint and feta. Serve with the pita wedges.

Cook’s Tip: The pita wedges and chickpea spread can be made up to one day ahead. Store the pita wedges in an airtight container at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate the chickpea mixture. The remaining ingredients can be chopped and stored in the refrigerator up to 8 hours in advance, but the dip shouldn’t be assembled until right before serving.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 69. Total Fat 0.5 g. Saturated fat 0.0 g. Polyunsaturated fat 0.0 g. Monounsaturated fat 0.0 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 109 mg. Carbohydrates 13 g. Fiber 2 g. Sugars 1 g. Protein 4 g. Dietary exchanges, 1 starch


Rustic Italian Tomato Soup

Serves 4; 1 cup per serving

16 ounces frozen mixed bell pepper strips (may be labeled stir-fry mix)
1 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 3/4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 15.5-ounce can no-salt-added navy beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a food processor or blender, process the bell pepper strips, tomatoes with liquid, broth, beans, basil, parsley, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes until slightly chunky or smooth.
2. Pour into a large saucepan.
3. Bring to a boil over high heat.
4. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the flavors are blended.
5. Remove from the heat.
6. Stir in the oil and salt.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 136; Total Fat 3.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.5 g; Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g; Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 215 mg; Carbohydrates 22 g; Fiber 5 g; Sugars 12 g; Protein 5 g


Source: Recipes courtesy of the American Heart Association.


If you’re ready to get started, here are 8 things you can do to pump up your heart health now.

The American Heart Association wants you to know your risk of heart disease. Read more here.