Making a complete diet overhaul can feel overwhelming, but it’s easy to make simple healthy recipe tweaks. There are substitutions or additions you can try that take almost no time, have little affect on taste, and yet can have a positive impact on the health of your heart. Here are five easy heart-healthy recipe tweaks to try:


1. Substitute Greek yogurt

Use instead of: sour cream, mayonnaise, butter, cream cheese

Greek yogurt is loaded with protein, probiotics, calcium and vitamin B12. It’s also low in sugar, cholesterol and fat, making it a great complement to any heart-healthy diet. Be sure to check the label and avoid brands with added sugar.


2. Substitute coconut oil

Use instead of: butter

Coconut oil has range of uses, from stir-fry to baking to a tasty spread on whole wheat toast. The oil is naturally antibacterial and has a range of health benefits, such as helping to protect the body from bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which can help support healthy cholesterol levels and heart health. When used externally, the oil even benefits the skin and hair.


3. Add chia seed or flaxseed

Add to: almost anything

Heart-healthy chia seed or flaxseed can be added to almost anything: smoothies, bread, stir-fry, salad dressing, oatmeal, cereal, pasta sauce and marinades, just to name a few. Chia seeds are loaded with soluble fiber, which can help support healthy cholesterol levels. The seeds also contain the heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acid alpha lipoic acid (ALA), antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Flax seeds are high in ALA, antioxidants, protein and fiber.


4. Add veggies, especially greens like kale or spinach

Add to: smoothies, baked or cooked dishes, sauces, breads, sandwiches, soups

Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits can support total wellness, including heart health. If you struggle to eat vegetables every day, consider adding them to other foods. Start your day with a kale smoothie. Add kale to casseroles, or add spinach to omelets. Add chopped vegetables or greens to spaghetti sauce or soups. Add shredded veggies to breads. Top sandwiches with nutritious veggies. There are a number of ways to get more veggies in your diet—you just have to look for the opportunity.


5. Add beetroot powder

Add to: smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, soups, baby food

Beetroot powder contains nitrate, a nutrient that supports the endothelium, the organ that helps produce Nitric Oxide (NO). One study found that dietary nitrates have a number of heart health benefits, including supporting healthy blood pressure levels and endothelial function. Add beetroot powder to a variety of foods, such as smoothies, pancakes and oatmeal. The powder also pairs well with tarragon, and the two are a delicious addition to mashed potatoes. Beetroot powder is an easy addition to soups, or add it to baby food for a healthy and colorful addition.

What heart-health recipe tweaks would you add?



[1] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04420.x/full