The Raw Glow Blog

Category — Superfoods

List of Heart Healthy Foods – How to Take Care of Your Heart

list of heart healthy foods

In honor of Valentine’s Day in February, I thought I would create a list of heart healthy foods and give you some tips on how to take care of your heart all year long. The heart is the most important organ of the body, in my opinion, without it we can’t survive and we are only born with one! Hope you enjoy my list of heart healthy foods and tips for a healthy and happy heart.

(Some of the below links are affiliate links, yet I really do love and recommend these products!)

How to Take Care of Your Heart

  • Slow it down. Relaxation techniques such as meditation can lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Try this heart centered meditation I recorded whenever you need to relax:

Click here if you can’t see the video below.

Cecilia says: if meditation isn’t your thing, find other ways to relax such as massage, listening to beautiful music, being out in nature, or whatever helps you to relax.

  • Speed it up. Studies clearly show that exercise helps the heart, both by improving exercise capacity and reducing the risk of heart disease and premature death.

Cecilia says: find aerobic exercise that you enjoy such as walking, dancing, or swimming because you are more likely to be consistent by doing something you love.

  • Spice it up. Flavoring foods with more herbs and spices and less salt can enliven your diet while helping to keep your blood pressure balanced.

Cecilia says: preparing food with fresh herbs and spices can be so much fun! There are many quality herbs and spices on the market and I recommend buying in bulk to save money. You can get good quality bulk herbs and spices here.

  • Eat your greens. Research indicates that a diet rich in green leafy vegetables lowers the risk of heart disease.

Cecilia says: if salads aren’t your thing, try juicing or blending your greens for a daily delicious green drink.

  • Magnesium is your friend. Magnesium helps maintain normal heart rhythms.

Try these magnesium rich foods: pumpkin seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, sesame seeds, and summer squash.

  • Get your omega-3s. ALA an anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid that may reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage your blood vessels and possibly lead to heart disease.

Try these omega-3 rich foods: walnuts, macadamia nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax, winter squash, olive oil, navy beans, kidney beans, and soybeans.

  • Eat the rainbow. A wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables deliver powerful phytonutrients that can prevent and repair damage to cells. That’s the essence of preventing heart disease.

Try these phytonutrient rich foods: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, red bell peppers, asparagus, oranges, tomatoes, acorn squash, cantaloupe, papaya just to name a few!

  • In summary, for a healthy heart try to relax, get moving, reduce your sodium intake, and try to include as many heart healthy foods into your diet as possible!

List of Heart Healthy Foods

(This list is not all inclusive)

All leafy greens

Magnesium Rich Foods

spinach
Swiss chard
pumpkin seeds
sesame seeds
summer squash

Omega-3 Rich Foods

walnuts
macadamia nuts
chia seeds
hemp seeds
flax
winter squash
olive oil
navy beans
kidney beans
soybeans

Phytonutrient Rich Foods

blueberries
strawberries
raspberries
cranberries
blackberries
carrots
broccoli
sweet potato
red bell peppers
asparagus
oranges
tomatoes
acorn squash
cantaloupe
papaya

Thank you for visiting the Raw Glow Blog, if you liked this list of heart healthy foods and how to take care of your heart tips please “like it” below. Comments are always welcome.

From my heart to yours!

♥,
C

Get your heart healthy hemp seeds here:

February 19, 2014   No Comments

Raw Chia Seed Pudding – With Mango and Cardamom

raw chia seed pudding

This raw chia seed pudding recipe uses cardamom: a sweet, spicy, and aromatic Middle Eastern spice which pairs perfectly with mango in this delicious chia seed pudding. If you have never used cardamon before, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. You can use it like you would cinnamon, but use less because a little goes a long way.

Chia seeds are pretty popular these days. They are getting famous for their high omega 3, protein, and fiber content. The combination of protein, fiber, and the gelling action of the chia seeds when mixed with liquids creates a satiating and satisfying tapioca like pudding, with no dairy or cooking required.

This raw chia seed pudding recipe is a favorite at my house and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

(Some of the below links are affiliate links, yet I really do love and recommend these products!)

chia seed pudding recipe
Raw Chia Seed Pudding – With Mango and Cardamom

1/2 cup raw cashews
1 and 1/2 cups water or coconut water
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen mango (peeled and de-seeded)
2 tablespoons raw honey or other sweetener of choice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or one teaspoon non-alcoholic vanilla extract)
2 pinches white stevia powder or to taste
1/4 cup whole chia seeds

Blend cashews and water (or coconut water) in a high speed blender until you make cashew milk. [You can also use 1 and 1/2 cups of any other type of milk you enjoy (almond, rice, soy . . .) if you do not want to use cashew milk in this recipe.]

Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the chia seeds, to the blender with the cashew milk and blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness or spices to your liking.

Pour the liquid mixture into a medium sized bowl and add the 1/4 cup of the whole chia seeds and stir well. Let the pudding thicken up in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. If you can, you may want to stir the pudding every hour or so to make sure all the chia seeds get hydrated.

Serve with chopped fruit and a small garnish of basil or mint. Makes 4-6 servings.

Resources

Thank you for visiting the Raw Glow Blog, if you liked this raw chia seed pudding recipe please “like it” below. Comments are always welcome.

♥,
C

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January 28, 2014   2 Comments

Natto Recipes and Recipe Ideas – Everything You Need to Know

Natto

For my birthday I treated myself to an order of Meguminatto Natto and since then I have been coming up with Natto recipes and recipe ideas that I wanted to share with you. I am not only going to share with you some of my Natto recipes and recipe ideas, but also a full description of Natto, its nutritional benefits, and where to buy it in the U.S.

What is Natto?

Natto is cooked whole soybeans that have been fermented with the probiotic Bacillus Sunstilis. Fermentation enhances the nutrition of the soybeans and develops a unique flavor and texture. Natto has been traditionally consumed in Japan for over 1000 years. Just recently, Natto has been gaining popularity in the United States because of its reported health benefits.

What are the Health Benefits of Natto?

One of Natto’s health benefits is its highly absorbable high Vitamin K2 content. Vitamin K is known for strengthening bones and reducing blood clots by slowing arterial calcification.

*Please note that because Natto contains vitamin K it could conflict with some anti-coagulant medications such as Warafin. Please consult your physician before consuming.

Another benefit of Natto is that the fermentation process breaks down the protein content in the soybeans making the protein easier to digest and more bioavailable.

Below is a list of some of Natto’s Nutritional Elements

Natto Contains:
Protein
Dietary Fiber
Enzymes: Proteinases, Lipase, Amilase, and Nattokinase
Isoflavones
Saponins
Lecithin
Linoleic Acid
Bacillus Natto
Vitamin B2
Vitamin E
Vitamin K2
Calcium
Iron
Arginine
Tryptophane

These days there are Natto derived supplements available on many popular supplement and health information websites. However, some believe that eating Natto fresh is the most effective and potent way to receive its benefits.

What Does Natto Taste Like?

Natto can be an acquired taste because of its gooey texture and its deep woodsy fermented flavor. I can’t really compare it to another flavor, the closest flavor I can think of would be a cross between a blue and a smoked cheese but more mild and less salty. The soybeans are super soft and the Bacillus Natto creates a sticky gooey texture around the soybeans. The gooey “strings” don’t bother me at all and actually remind me of the consistency of honey. In my opinion, Natto is a prized delicacy. Either you hate it or you love it, and I am one of those people that just absolutely loves the flavor and texture of Natto!

Where to Buy Natto in the U.S.?

Up until a little awhile ago the only way to get Natto in the U.S. was to make your own or purchase it at selected Asian markets. However, now a small company called Meguminatto has started making organic Natto in the U.S. with U.S. grown organic soybeans. If you order online they will deliver Natto straight to your home. Once the Meguminatto organic Natto is delivered, it will last over 6 weeks in your fridge.

I highly recommend the Meguminatto brand of Natto. Its organic and has a smooth mellow flavor with hints of sweetness, much less intense than other Natto brands I have tried before.

How do You Eat Natto?

You can eat it straight as is or try different Natto recipes. There are so many Natto recipe ideas out there and you can come up with you own Natto recipes as well. The flavor of Natto particularly lends itself to Asian flavors or you can use it as you would cheese or another type of legume such as garbanzo. The only caution is to not heat the Natto because it will degrade the beneficial bacteria and enzymes.

Natto Recipes and Recipe Ideas

If you decide to try Natto (Meguminatto brand or otherwise) here are some Natto recipe ideas to get your imagination and taste buds jump-started.

Here are a few Natto recipe ideas if you want to try some at home:

1. Traditional Method. Stir Natto into a warm (not hot) bowl of brown rice. Add some miso tamari and chopped green onions to your liking and stir again. Enjoy!
2. My Favorite. Boil up a serving of your favorite noodles (I like to use gluten free brown rice or black rice spaghetti or 100% buckwheat noodles.) Strain and rinse the noodles with cool water. Stir in Natto with chop sticks until the Natto strands make a sauce for the noodles. Finish with sea salt or miso tamari to taste.
3. Mustard. Add your favorite mustard to Natto and enjoy.
4. Sushi. Substitute Natto for raw fish in your favorite sushi recipe. Good with pickled ginger and a dollap of wasabi. Natto is also good in your favorite summer roll recipe.
5. Rice Cake. Spread a layer of peanut butter on an organic brown rice cake (I like Lundberg’s Tamari with Seaweed Organic Rice Cakes) top with Natto and drizzle a layer of equal parts raw honey and miso tamari mixed together for this sweet and salty snack. (For the raw version you can substitute the brown rice cake for a flax cracker and the peanut butter for raw almond butter.)
6. Japanese Sweet Potato. Natto is great over cooked and cooled Japanese Sweet Potatos sprinkled with a little miso tamari.
7. Cucumber Salad. Here is a beautifully presented raw cucumber Natto salad recipe I came up with. To get the full Natto recipe click here.

* If you don’t have miso tamari available you can just use regular tamari.

Don’t be scared to try Natto, you just might love it! It is actually one of my very favorite foods.

Hope you enjoyed these Natto recipe and recipe ideas. Have you tried Natto? What is your favorite way to enjoy it?

♥,
C

May 15, 2013   1 Comment

Pomegranate Seed Recipes – 2 Easy Raw Food Recipes

It’s pomegranate season and pomegranates are one of my favorite fruits. They are famous for their high level of antioxidants and their beautiful sweet and tangy ruby red seeds. Here are two of my favorite pomegranate seed recipes. Enjoy!

 pomegranate seed salsa

Pomegranate Kiwi Salsa

This pomegranate seed recipe was inspired by simplyrecipes.com and is sure to be a hit at your next holiday gathering. You can serve it with raw flax crackers, jicama rounds, or baked tortilla chips for a healthy holiday platter. My husband enjoyed it over some black beans and it also makes a great topping to spice up a batch of quinoa.

4 ripe peeled and chopped kiwifruit
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 avocado chopped
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh jalapeño (seeds removed)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a bowl and gently fold ingredients together. Makes about 1 and ½ cups.

pomegranate radish salad

Pomegranate Radish Salad

This pomegranate seed recipe is a tasty way to eat radishes and it makes a great side salad or add your favorite greens and garbanzo or kidney beans for a more filling salad. (Radishes are a good source of potassium and vitamin C, they support the liver, and can help to relieve congestion in the respiratory system.)

5 red radishes chopped
3 tablespoons Citrus Honey Chia Seed Vinaigrette
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Add all ingredients together and let marinate for at least one hour before serving.

Hope these two pomegranate seed recipes inspire you to start adding pomegranate seeds to your cuisine! And as always, please share your favorite pomegranate seed recipes in the comments section below.

♥,
C

P.S. Note: Eating pomegranates might interfere with certain medications in the same way that grapefruit juice does. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist about any drug interactions.

November 5, 2012   1 Comment

How to Use Coconut Oil – 10 Easy Ways!

If you ever wondered how to use coconut oil read on . . .

By now you’ve probably heard of some of the unique benefits of coconut oil. Coconut oil is a unique fat because it contains 50 percent lauric acid, a rare medium-chain fatty acid found in mother’s milk that supports healthy metabolism and is now being studied for its anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial health-protecting properties.

It is also excellent for dry skin and hair and in my house we use coconut oil liberally both in the kitchen and bathroom. We prefer cold-pressed, organic extra-virgin coconut oil with a heavy coconut smell and taste.

Here are some of our favorite ways how to use coconut oil:

 1. Make a delicious honey coconut oil spread:

Mix equal parts coconut oil and raw honey and a pinch of cinnamon to make a delicious spread for baked goods, pancakes, toast . . .

 2. Make an herbed coconut oil:

Mix one cup coconut butter and a bunch of fresh herbs or assorted herbs (chives, basil, tarragon, cilantro, dill . . .). Blend in the food processor with the s blade until the herbs are finely minced and store in the refrigerator. Use on rice, baked potatoes, steamed vegetables . . .

3. Substitute coconut oil for butter in any recipe:

Use it in baking, sautéing, spread on mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, toast, popcorn . . .

 4. Make a hot coconut oil treatment for your hair:

Warm coconut oil until liquid with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Put on clean dry hair and cover with a warm towel. Leave on for 10-15 minutes and then shampoo out.

 5. Use coconut oil instead of shaving cream:

Spread on desired areas and then smoothly shave away!

 6. Use coconut oil as an anti-frizz hair styling product:

Rub a little bit of oil in the palms of your hands and then comb your fingers through your hair.

 7. Use coconut oil as a make-up remover:

Apply coconut oil to your made up face with your fingertips and wash away make-up gently with a warm moist wash cloth.

 8. Use coconut oil as a massage oil by itself or mix with other oils such olive, sesame, or almond.

 9. Use coconut oil to occasionally season your wooden cutting boards and keep them looking new.

 10. Use coconut as a natural deodorant:

Mix with some essential oil such as lemon or lavender and apply under arms.

I hope this list gave you some ideas on how to use coconut oil, but I know this list is just the tip of the iceberg! Please share your favorite ways to use coconut oil in the comments section below.

♥,
C

June 26, 2012   13 Comments