“We are indeed much more that what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” – Adelle Davis, pioneer nutritionist and author
I’m often approached about reviewing cookbooks and for the most part accept without hesitation. After all, if you’re a chef or just love to cook, reading through recipes is a guilty pleasure unlike any other. But reading about heart disease? Not as much of a pleasure. And I thought about not reading this one.
Then it occurred to me that as blessed as I’ve been not to have heart disease touch my life, it’s quite likely that it’s touched many of yours. And how wonderful it would be if someone who receives this book could actually prevent themselves or a loved one from losing their lives. Or at the very least, understand how to improve their health. That’s something that everyone can benefit from.
And the surprising thing is that I really enjoyed the read. It’s written in a way that made me feel as if the author, Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D,R.D.,LDN, is a doctor friend who enjoys sharing her heart-health knowledge. And it’s a bonus to understand why the food we put into our bodies makes such a difference to our heart.
My favorite part of the book is the meal plan, checklist and recipes. There are some really delicious sounding recipes, such as Shallow-Poached Salmon with Fennel & Saffron. Or how about Shrimp with Artichoke-Garlic Sauce? And let’s finish that off with Dark Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts! Yes, please!
Speaking of walnuts, here’s an interesting article written by the author:
Heart Health in a Nutshell: What Walnuts Can Do for You
By Janet Bond Brill Ph.D. R.D., LDN
Author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease
Walnuts are an ancient plant food that has sustained humans since the dawn of civilization. They are key to heart health because they are a top source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA is the omega-3 fatty acid derived from plants which our bodies need in addition to the other omega-3 that comes from salmon and other fish. Studies show that people who eat an ALA-rich diet are less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack.
Walnuts (along with flaxseeds) are one of the eight key food groups – - along with olive oil, leafy greens, figs, and other fruits, lentils and other legumes, salmon and other seafood, oatmeal and other whole grains, and red wine – - that are part of my plan to reverse heart disease, or build good heart health to hopefully avoid heart troubles. Dark chocolate is a bonus food in this plan.
Walnuts stand apart from all other types of nuts for two reasons:
- they provide the highest amount of the “vegetarian” omega-3 fatty acid, ALA, and
- they are packed with the most plaque-fighting antioxidants relative to all other nuts
While the thin brown skin that surrounds the walnut meat – - the pellicle – - may taste a bit bitter, this is naturally rich in antioxidant polyphenols, which combat plaque buildup, so try to eat that portion when you eat your walnuts. Walnuts are also naturally rich in vitamin E, the potent healthy antioxidant, concentrated mostly in the nut kernel.
Consuming just a handful of walnuts daily can help:
- Make your dysfunctional endothelium (the damaged inner arterial layer that instigates and promotes heart disease progression) more functional by reducing inflammation and promoting more relaxed and dilated blood vessels.
- Lower your cholesterol (both walnuts and flaxseeds will work together to make a dent in your “bad” LDL cholesterol level).
- Make your blood less likely to clot.
- Lower your blood level of inflammation. Eating walnuts is probably the easiest and tastiest way to incorporate ALA into your day because they can be enjoyed multiple ways: as a handy and portable snack or as an embellishment to any meal.
Here are a few of the ideas I offer in Prevent a Second Heart Attack:
- Keep a bag of shelled walnuts on your kitchen counter and grab some nuts as a quick and healthy snack.
- Go Greek: enjoy a fat-free Greek yogurt topped with a little honey, some crushed walnuts and savor a nutritious choice that makes a sensational and satisfying sweet dessert.
- Sprinkle walnuts on your green salads. (Dr. Janet’s Spinach Salad with Apples, Toasted Walnuts, and Dried Cranberries and Dr. Janet’s Arugla Salad with Figs and Walnuts can be found on page 284 and 285)
- Try candied walnuts – - bake walnuts sprinkled with a little brown sugar for a sweet treat.
- Toss walnuts and dried fruit together in a small plastic bag and you have a super-antioxidant-rich and convenient snack for when you are out and about or even as a late-afternoon pick-me-up.
- Use walnuts in cooking to add taste and nutrition to your favorite dishes.
So, go nuts (walnuts, that is) every day, and get heart healthy.
© 2011 Janet Bond Brill, Ph. D. R.D., LDN, author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease
Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN, author of Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease, is a diet, nutrition, and fitness expert who has appeared on national television. She is the author of Cholesterol Down: 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol In 4 Weeks Without Prescription Drugs, and specializes in cardiovascular disease prevention. Dr. Brill lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.
Now for the good stuff! I’m giving away two copies of this book to two lucky readers! To enter, simply leave a comment below making sure to leave your email address. Please note: The publisher will ship to the US only. The contest will end Monday, Feb 28th 2011, midnight EST.
For extra entries you can do one of the following:
- Like me on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter
- Share the giveaway with your friends on Facebook and/or send a tweet: Enter to win “8 Foods,8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease” from @thewickednoodle http://wp.me/pr5mw-17n
You can also visit Prevent a Second Heart Attack if you’d like more information.
Cheers to good health!