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Share a healthy heart with your Valentine

By Margie Mansure (

Article Published: Feb. 12 | Modified: Feb. 12

In the not so distant past, some health conscious people counted every gram of fat they ingested.

Fortunately, the latest recommendations for heart health allow plenty of flavor-improving, healthy fats, including nuts, avocados, fish and liquid oils.

A recent study published in The American Journal of Medicine reveals that a eating a healthy, primarily plant-based diet, with seafood, poultry and meat as a condiment will keep your heart healthier than just counting grams of fat.

Scientists analyzed major diet and heart disease studies conducted since 1957 and found that focusing on lower fat in the diet lowers blood cholesterol levels, but doesn’t reduce the incidence of heart attack or coronary heart disease deaths. Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet with heart healthy fats actually prevents disease.

A whole foods diet approach is best. The Mediterranean diet is a great example and emphasizes:

• Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
• Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
• Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
• Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
• Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
• Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

The Mediterranean diet also recognizes the importance of physical activity and enjoying meals with family and friends.

This salmon patty recipe tastes great, is inexpensive to make and adds Omega-3 fatty acids to the diet. I like to serve it on whole grain buns, with mustard and green chili sauce, topped with bell pepper and onion that has been sautéed in olive oil.

Salmon Pattie

1, 14 oz. can of salmon, drained and chopped
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped green onion
1 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 eggs
1 tablespoon mustard of choice
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ cups cornmeal
Olive oil

Mix together all the ingredients except olive oil and cornmeal in a large bowl. Shape mixture into 6 to 8 patties. Place the cornmeal on a plate and coat the patties. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the coated patties and cook until golden, about 5 minutes on each side.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email, or call (828) 264-3061.

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