Eat this, not that: Smart substitutions for heart health

2013-02-02T00:00:00Z Eat this, not that: Smart substitutions for heart healthKathleen Dorsey Managing Editor, Get Healthy Magazine

1. Pasta vs. Quinoa or Brown Rice

The usual pasta found in supermarkets is made with enriched white flour, a processed grain. Instead of eating this carb-heavy starch, substitute for all-natural quinoa. It looks a lot like couscous, but with the added benefit of being a whole grain. If you can't find or don't like quinoa, try brown rice instead of white rice. According to, “Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health.”

2. Fried mushroom appetizer vs. roasted cauliflower

On a game day, nothing is easier than ordering in some greasy finger food to munch as the team scores. Instead of sending out for fried vegetables, consider making roasted cauliflower in the oven with a sprinkling of (heart healthy) extra virgin olive oil and spices. It has no breading, tons of flavor, and is much healthier than greasy, calorie filled mushrooms. Cauliflower contains a high amount of antioxidants, which are essential for the body's overall health and help to prevent heart disease.

3. Doritos vs. Pop Chips

Doritos and other corn and potato chips are full of grease and trans fats as well as sodium and preservatives. Pop Chips are a more natural version of this convenient snack that are neither fried nor baked. Instead, they are made by adding heat and pressure to “pop” their chips into being. Pop Chips promise no grease, no preservatives or additives, according to

4. Soft drinks vs. sparkling water

Soft drinks are America’s largest source of empty calories. Plus, recent studies have found a link between even regular diet soda consumption and stroke and heart attack risk, according to the Journal of General Internal Medicine. If you just have to have a bubble fix, sparkling water is a much healthier substitute, made from carbonated water – that’s it! Plus, you can look classy bringing a bottle of San Pellegrino to the table – or as the Parisians call it, “San Pe.”

5. Creamy toppings vs. Greek Yogurt

Creamy condiments such as sour cream and mayonnaise and cooking ingredients such as heavy cream and butter can contribute to clogged arteries and other cardiovascular problems. Instead of indulging in a burrito with extra sour cream, try to dab on a spoonful of greek yogurt instead. Now widely available in supermarkets, greek yogurt is just as creamy as sour cream, and has a similar taste. When blended with other ingredients, you’ll never notice the difference.

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