Cooking with Marlene Koch

Deliciously Heart Smart

It's time to love your heart with great tasting food! A healthy diet is always important for a healthy heart. However, for those at a greater risk for heart disease, like people with diabetes, the stakes are even higher. Fortunately, one of the most significant ways to reduce your risk for heart disease is as easy as adjusting what's on your plate.

According to both the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, the key to a "heart smart plate" is limiting foods high in sodium and fat, particularly those high in saturated and trans-fats, while emphasizing whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Ten Heart-Healthy Super Stars

Recent studies show that along with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, there are plenty of tasty foods that are great for your heart. These foods are filled with powerful phytonutrients that protect and potentially reverse damage to your heart. Below are ten of my favorite heart-healthy super stars along with their heart healthy active components. The foods and ingredients can be easily – and deliciously - incorporated into any heart-loving daily diet.

  1. Oatmeal - Soluble fiber
  2. Tomatoes - Caroteniods
  3. Salmon - Omega-3 fatty acids
  4. Walnuts - Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E
  5. Berries - Flavonoids and antioxidants
  6. Soymilk - Isoflavones and calcium
  7. Green Tea - Catechins and flavonoids
  8. Olive/Canola Oil - Monounsaturated fats
  9. Red Wine - Resveratrol
  10. Cocoa powder - Resveratrol
  • Carotenoids give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors and are powerful antioxidants that protect your heart from the damaging effects of free radicals.
  • Flavonoids, catechins, resveratrol, and isoflavones protect blood vessels, lower blood pressure and reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids help boost the immune system, reduce blood clots and protect against heart attacks. They also increase good HDL levels, lower triglyceride levels, protect arteries from plaque buildup, are anti-inflammatories and lower blood pressure.

Delicious Heart Smart Recipes

Salmon Packets with Tomato Basil Relish
Deep Dark Hot Chocolate

Marlene Koch, RD, is a registered dietitian who has specialized in delicious food and healthy lifestyles for over twenty years. Marlene holds a degree in Nutritional Science from the University of Los Angeles, California. Marlene is a best-selling author of healthy, low-sugar cookbooks. Marlene is a frequent guest on TV, radio and websites such as iVillage and
Read more about Marlene Koch

The goal of Destination Diabetes® is to be a useful and credible resource for the more than 20 million children and adults who have diabetes in the U.S. and their families. Destination Diabetes® provides information on a wide range of diabetes health and wellness topics. Articles are written or reviewed by diabetes advisors who have experience in diabetes education.