Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans? While two of the risk factors may be out of our control (age and family history) the rest is completely up to you. What you eat can have a major effect on your heart. Here are DEFINE foods Creator Erin Stewart’s tips for eating for a healthy heart:
- Eat Mostly Veggies: Stick with real, local, whole, and unprocessed fruits and vegetables to improve blood flow, and therefore, lower blood pressure.
- Limit Unhealthy Fats: Eat monounsaturated, omega 3’s and unrefined unsaturated fats from olive, canola and coconut oils, nuts, seeds and cold-water fatty fish. Avoid hydrogenated fats, which raise the ‘bad’ LDL, lowers the ‘good’ HDL, causes inflammation and decreases immune function.
- Pump Up the Fiber: Whole grains have been proven to lower total blood cholesterol. Choose quinoa, millet and brown rice. Ditch refined carbs and sugars!
- Get Magnesium-rich: From your daily dose of cacao. Yes, cheers to a healthy chocolate addiction! The darker, the better.
- Drink to This: Green tea for its antioxidants and red wine for its anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties. A glass a day!
FUDGY BEET CAKES
They’re tasty, gooey and good for your heart! Loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals, this cake is a rich source of antioxidants from both beets and cacao, has anti-inflammatory qualities to promote a healthy heart and blood flow. And the best part about it? You would have NO idea this cake is that good for you. Try it out and indulge!
Yield: About 15 (3-inch) cakes
2 medium beets, stem and roots removed, scrubbed well
1 cup Spelt flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
1 cup vanilla rice milk
1 tsp. vinegar
¾ cup raw turbinado sugar
¼ cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Drizzle the beets with a little oil, wrap tightly in foil and roast for about one hour until fork tender. Cool to room temperature. Once cooled, puree beets in a blender until smooth, adding a little water if necessary.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt. Set aside. Mix the milk and vinegar together in a bowl and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Using a standing or hand-held mixer, combine the sugar, oil, vanilla, and ½ cup beets with the milk and vinegar. Beat well. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients on low speed until batter is completely smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour batter into parchment-lined half sheet pan, filling ½- ¾ of the way up. Bake 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Once cooled, cut out desired shapes, dust with cocoa powder and store in an airtight container to keep fresh.
© Erin O’Leary Stewart, DEFINE foods