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General Recipe

Healthy Recipes To Try This Valentines for Your Loved Ones

Although we don’t need any specific day to tell someone we love them, the idea of having a day dedicated to love is something to celebrate. Valentine’s is that time of the year when we want to express to the people we love most that they’re important to us. We want to make our appreciation for them known because they are a big part of our life. 

When you love someone, you care about them deeply, including their health. On this day of love symbolised by hearts, we’re bringing you a few simple Valentine’s Day recipes that will help you make your way into that special someone’s heart and are also quite literally, better for the heart. 

Creamy Tomato Risotto

Nutrient Metre: Tomatoes may reduce bad cholesterol and contain antioxidant properties that help keep heart health in check. Red is for love and health both, with this Valentine’s Day recipe.

Serves: 4 people

Ingredients:

  • 400g fresh tomato, sliced 
  • 300g cherry tomato, halves
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 rosemary sprig, finely sliced 
  • small pack basil, shredded
  • 1 litre vegetable stock 
  • 4 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 1 tbsp Saffola Gold oil

Preparation: 

  • In a food processor, empty the chopped tomatoes and half of the vegetable stock. Grind until smooth. 
  • Pour the mixture into a cooking pan along with the remaining vegetable stock and let it simmer on low heat. 
  • In a separate pan, drizzle Saffola Gold oil and let it simmer. 
  • Add onions and slowly cook for a few minutes until soft. 
  • Sprinkle in the garlic and rosemary and let it sit for 1 minute. 
  • Next, add the rice and stir everything together for 1 minute.
  • Gradually, add the vegetable stock and tomato mixture in small portions — one quarter at a time. 
  • Allow the risotto to cook while stirring in intervals and adding more stock as it keeps getting absorbed. 
  • Once half of the stock and tomato mixture is added, add the cherry tomatoes. 
  • Wait for 20-25 minutes until the cherry tomatoes and rice become soft and creamy and all of the stock is absorbed completely.
  • Set aside with a lid for 1 minute and stir in the basil. 
  • Garnish with Parmesan, black pepper, and salt to taste, and serve hot. A healthy, creamy treat for your tastebuds.


Vegan Cheesecake

Nutrient Metre: Nuts help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, resulting in better cardiovascular health. Oats help manage cholesterol and help with type 2 diabetes. It’s one of those healthy dessert recipes that doesn’t have to “taste” healthy, while also being a great option in vegan desserts.

Serves: 8 people

Ingredients: 

  • ½ cup nuts or seeds of choice
  • 1 cup oats
  • 20 small dates 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • ½ tbsp Saffola Gold oil 
  • ⅔ cup cashews 
  • 1 cup coconut milk 
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 1 ½ tsp agar powder 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp beetroot powder

Preparation: 

  • In a pan, soak the cashews in hot water for an hour or let them boil for approximately 15 minutes. 
  • For the cheesecake crust, take the nuts, seeds, oats, dates, vanilla extract, and Saffola Gold oil and put them in a food processor. Blend until the mixture binds together. 
  • In a separate 6-inch baking tin, flatten the dough mixture onto the bottom and roll up the dough to the circular edges of the tin. Set aside in the refrigerator to cool.
  • Now, take the cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and beetroot powder. Churn on high speed in a blender for about 1-2 minutes until smooth. 
  • Then, in a small pan, add the agar powder and 1/4th cup of water and let it simmer for 2 minutes while stirring. 
  • Pour the agar mixture into the blender preparation and churn again for a few seconds. 
  • Bring out the baking tin from the refrigerator and empty the blender onto the dough. Refrigerate once again until set. 
  • Serve cold and savour this vegan cheesecake delight. 

Strawberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Nutrient Metre:  

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that can help in improving heart health. Strawberries decrease oxidative stress which can cause cell damage and thus, improve cardiovascular health. Healthy sweets and taste can go hand in hand with this choice of healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Serves: 4 people

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups Oat flour 
  • 10-12 strawberries, mashed 
  • 2 tbsp dark chocolate chips 
  • 60 ml milk 
  • 1/3rd cup Saffola honey 
  • 1/4th cup Saffola Gold oil
  • Flax egg (vegetarian):
    • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed (blended flaxseeds)
    • 3 tbsp water

Preparation: 

  • Preheat the oven to 175°C. 
  • In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseeds with 3 tbsp water. Let it sit for 10 minutes. This then forms a flax egg with a gelatinous consistency, similar to egg whites. 
  • Take the strawberries.  Wash and slice them. Once finely sliced, gently mash them with your fingers. 
  • In a separate bowl, add the remaining ingredients – oat flour, dark chocolate chips, milk, Saffola honey and Saffola Gold oil. Mix everything together. 
  • Now, add the flax egg and fold in the strawberries into this mixture containing all other ingredients. 
  • Take a baking sheet and grease with Saffola Gold oil. 
  • Pull apart the dough from the prepared mixture and roll them up into evenly sized balls. Place them on the baking sheet and press down slightly with your palm.

Note: The dough can also be shaped into little hearts using a cookie cutter. 

  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, remove and set aside to cool completely. 
  • Serve with warm milk and enjoy your chocolate oat cookies. 

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Nutrient Metre: Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that help lower the risk of heart diseases.

Strawberries decrease oxidative stress which can cause cell damage and thus, improve cardiovascular health. It makes for a great, simple choice of healthy dessert.

Serves: 5 people

Ingredients: 

  • 400g strawberries
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 30g white and milk chocolate, chopped

Preparation: 

  • In a small pan, fill up some water up to 2cm and let it simmer. 
  • Take the dark chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. Then place the bowl on top of the water pan, making sure that it doesn’t touch the water.
  • Gently stir the chocolate as it melts gradually. Once done, set aside in a small, deep bowl. 
  • Now, pick up the strawberries, insert into a small stick, and slowly dip into the chocolate. Let the excess chocolate drip. 
  • Take a piece of baking paper and set the strawberries on it to rest. 

Note: Leftover chocolate can be poured onto another baking sheet for later use. 

  • To decorate the strawberries with hearts or other patterns, melt the white and milk chocolate and drizzle lightly over the fruit into shapes of your liking. 
  • Dive in and relish the goodness. 

Surprise the special people in your life with this delicious yet healthy Valentine’s menu to spread the love and good health!

References: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12587984/ 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17427261/ 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29800597/ 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25267241/ 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287403077_The_Metabolic_Effects_of_Oats_Intake_in_Patients_with_Type_2_Diabetes_A_Systematic_Review_and_Meta-Analysis 

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/JAHA.116.005162 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20384847/ 

Categories
General

5 Basic Elements One Must Monitor to ensure a Healthy Heart

Your heart is the powerhouse of your body and you need to take special care of yourself to keep it healthy. In order to take good care of your heart, there are multiple factors to consider including lifestyle changes by making healthier choices. It’s no longer just about being dependent on regular check-ups with your doctor, you have to be proactive about your heart health as a whole. 

There are factors that can put you at a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases and conditions like heart attacks, for example hereditary health issues, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, and an unhealthy lifestyle, to name a few. Some risk factors like your family’s health history and age are out of your control but you can take certain preventive measures to lower your risk by changing the factors that you can control. 

It is important to take proactive efforts to look after your health and monitor it on a regular basis. Visiting your doctor for consistent health check ups can help ensure you’re on top of your overall well being and catch symptoms early. Additionally you can take some steps to lower your risk such as: 

  • Manage your cholesterol levels 

Your cholesterol levels are closely linked to your heart health. If you have a high amount of LDL (commonly referred to as ‘bad cholesterol) and a low amount of HDL (referred to as ‘good cholesterol), you will be at a greater risk of developing heart issues. A high level of triglycerides, which are fats from the food you eat, combined with high LDL is also associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. While cholesterol levels can only be tested through a blood test, you can take steps to manage your cholesterol levels. This can be done by following a heart-healthy diet and an active lifestyle. Read more about a Beginner’s Guide to a Heart-Healthy Diet.

  • Keep your blood pressure in check 

Having high blood pressure is linked to many heart issues including hypertensive heart diseases. Since high blood pressure can sometimes have no symptoms, it is important to check your blood pressure regularly. Today, it is easy to find blood pressure monitors for home use that provide more accurate data. You can regularly monitor your blood pressure with these devices to check whether they are within the normal range of 120/80. If you have consistently high blood pressure readings, you should consult your doctor who can advise how it can be lowered. 

  • Use a pulse rate monitor regularly 

If you are at risk, you should have a handy way of testing your heart rate. While there are ways to manually measure your pulse, there are also many handy devices that can measure it constantly. Smartwatches can have a higher level of accuracy when it comes to measuring your heart rate and some even have an automatic alert system that can alert you when it’s too high or too low. Pulse rate monitoring devices can help you figure out whether you have an irregular heartbeat, which is medically known as arrhythmia. Arrhythmia can be a symptom of coronary heart disease or can be caused during a heart attack. The risk factors for arrhythmia can be stress, or anxiety, consumption of alcohol and obesity among others, so it is in your best interest to consult your doctor if you’re prone to any of these and in any instance, notice an irregular heartbeat. 

  • Monitor your blood sugar 

Monitoring your blood sugar is especially important for those who are also at a higher risk of developing diabetes. High blood sugar can cause damage to your arteries, especially in the kidneys which reduces their ability to filter blood. Diabetes is also one of the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. So, if you have high blood sugar levels, you can keep a glucometer handy so you can accurately measure your blood sugar levels and seek medical care as needed. 

  • Manage your lifestyle 

Along with monitoring your body, living heart-healthy also involves taking other preventive measures and monitoring your body. If you are at risk of developing heart-related issues, the best way to lower it would be through making changes to your lifestyle. You can begin by including some heart-healthy habits into your routine and switching to a diet that’s better for your heart

When To See Your Doctor

If you know you’re at risk of developing heart issues, you should also be aware of warning symptoms that might need urgent medical attention. If you experience any of the signs below, you should consider getting in touch with your doctor immediately:

Warning signs for Heart Attack:-

  • pain or pressure in your chest that lasts longer than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
  • pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms or shoulders, or your back, neck, or jaw
  • shortness of breath
  • sweating or light-headedness
  • indigestion or nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
  • feeling very tired

Warning signs for Stroke:-

  • weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg on one side of your body
  • confusion, or trouble talking or understanding
  • dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
  • trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
  • sudden, severe headache

It is also advisable to maintain routine check ups with your doctor. It’s never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle. If you are at risk, make sure you are timely monitoring your heart’s health with the above methods to lead a healthy and happy life. 

Disclaimer:- This publication/ article is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20373106 

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/circulationaha.106.637793 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539800/ 

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings 

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16749-arrhythmia 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-arrhythmia/symptoms-causes/syc-20350668 

https://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/21/3/160

Categories
General

How Sugar Affects Your Heart Health

We’re all looking to live our best lives but when it comes to watching what goes into our body, we can sometimes overlook things. But nutrition and health are directly connected and eating healthier food can make a big difference, especially when it comes to heart health.  Since making the right food choices can help reduce your risk of heart diseases, you should be aware of the nutritional impact of everyday ingredients. Sugar is one such common ingredient that has more effect on your heart health than you might think.

It’s ironic, but sugar is actually a bitter-sweet part of our everyday lives. Sweet, because most of us love the taste and let’s be honest, it’s hard to resist the cravings. Bitter, because an excessive amount of sugar can lead to an increase in your blood sugar, which can deteriorate your cardiovascular health.

Within limited quantities, sugar is good for your body when consumed through whole foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables or simply put, unprocessed foods. However, added sugar that is commonly used in processed foods, can pose adverse risks to your heart and its overall health. The WHO recommends that added sugars should be less than 10% of total energy intake. 

Here are some of the ways in which sugar and heart health are correlated: 

Sugar and Cardiovascular Diseases 

While sugar may not directly affect your heart health, having too much of it frequently can lead to many health issues. Sugar intake and heart diseases are linked in a few ways: 

  1. Sugar, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure 

There is a three-way link between overconsumption of sugar, diabetes, and high blood pressure.  

People diagnosed with diabetes are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure. When you have high blood pressure, the force of blood pushing against the artery walls is very high. This can also go unnoticed as it may not have any symptoms but it can cause health issues such as a heart attack. 

People with diabetes also typically have high blood sugar. This occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin and blood sugar levels rise considerably. High blood sugar and heart attack are closely related.  

 

  1. Sugar and Cholesterol Level 

Not all cholesterol is bad. There are two kinds — LDL and HDL. HDL is the good cholesterol that our body requires in restricted quantities to produce vitamins and other hormones. 

Too much LDL, on the other hand, can be harmful when it circulates in your blood and sticks to other substances to form lumps that can block arteries and result in a heart attack or stroke. 

Consumption of higher quantities of added sugar is associated with increased levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and a decreased level of good cholesterol (HDL).

 

  1. Sugar, Weight Gain and Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

It’s no surprise that if we don’t consciously watch our sugar intake, weight gain is inevitable – although the extent varies from body to body. When we tip closer towards the scale of a higher weight bracket and on a more extreme end, towards obesity, we drastically increase our chances of developing cardiovascular diseases. 

 

People at risk for obesity could also face liver problems. The way that your liver processes sugar is very similar to the way it processes alcohol – by converting it into fat. An accumulation of fat can then give rise to “fatty liver disease”.  When this fat circulates in the blood stream, it can become one of the reasons for heart disease. Therefore sugar and heart disease are not independent of one another. 

 

Keeping a Check on Your Sugar Intake 

With all said and done, this is not a battle lost. “How harmful is sugar” might be the question we addressed in this article but we also did say this is bittersweet. 

 

There are simple ways to continue indulging and giving in to your cravings while staying healthy: 

  • Switch to healthier alternatives: When having a sugar craving choose whole fruits which have a natural occurring sugar rather than refined or added sugar in desserts.  
  • Moderation is key: Balanced portions will make sure you remain healthy even if you have sugar occasionally.  When preparing food check your recipes and be mindful of how much sugar you add.
  • Balanced Diet: A Balanced diet comprising of all essential macro nutrients like carbs, proteins and fat with dietary fibres, and micro nutrients vitamins and minerals will help maintain heart and overall health. 
  • Check your store-bought items: When buying food, closely read the nutrition facts to watch sugar intake. You’d be surprised to find an excess of added sugar in food items you least expect such as ready-to-eat breakfast cereals or even ketchup.

 

  • Exercise regularly: The benefits of exercise cannot be stressed enough. Whether it’s a 15-minute brisk walk or an intense training session, exercise regulates your body and its workings.

 

 

Benefits of Sugar 

On the sweeter side of things, some amount of sugar is good. Sugar is a form of carbohydrate and carbohydrates are needed to fuel the body with energy by being broken down into glucose and pushed into the bloodstream. Glucose, in turn, is essential for the functioning of the brain, nervous system, and red blood cells. 

However, as we mentioned, it is better for your heart health to reduce your sugar intake as consuming high amounts can be harmful in the long run. 

To conclude, sugar and heart disease and therefore, sugar and heart health go hand in hand. It is crucial to maintain a balanced diet along with a balanced lifestyle. Remember, when you choose a healthier life, you’re also choosing to enjoy it a lot more! If you’re looking for more tips on eating better, check out our beginner’s guide to a heart-healthy diet.

 

References: 

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/diabetes/diabetes-and-high-blood-pressure 

https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/diabetes-and-heart-attack-is-a-particularly-risky-combination 

https://delhi.apollohospitals.com/blog/how-sugar-affects-your-cholesterol/ 

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol 

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/obesity-sugar-and-heart-health 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8550265/ 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/does-your-body-need-sugar#role-in-the-body