It’s that time of year, love is in the air and hearts are all a flutter! Not only is Valentine’s Day fast approaching, but it’s also American Heart Month! Some of the top ways to keep your heart health in check is by exercising regularly to help you maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and eat a healthy diet. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misconception about healthy food tasting bland and boring. I know when most people think of heart-healthy foods pancakes are not usually the first foods that come to mind. Well, that all changes now!
Some of my favorite recipes to make in the kitchen are pancakes that taste so deceivably good, you won’t believe they are healthy! You may already have many heart-healthy ingredients in your pantry and not even know it.
Here are some heart-healthy ingredient that I love:
Coconut oil like the cold pressed unrefined organic coconut oil from Kelapo has many amazing healthy benefits and tastes delicious! It contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) which are digested much quicker than any other fats. MCT’s are absorbed directly in the liver, provide sustainable energy throughout the day, and promote weight loss by helping to increase metabolism. Studies have also shown that supplementing with coconut oil daily can increase HDL (good cholesterol) and reduce belly fat!
Dark Chocolate is bursting with flavor and full of antioxidants which help to prevent your body from being damages by free radicals from toxins in our every day environment. Also, eating moderate amounts of flavanol-rich dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to your heart and brain and has a blood-thinning effect, which can benefit cardiovascular health.
Nuts are not only delicious and make a deliciously healthy snack, they are also great for lowering LDL (bad cholesterol), one of the top offenders for causing heart disease. Nuts are full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which directly lower bad cholesterol, Omega-3 fatty acids that prevent dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks, fiber which helps to keep you full while lowering cholesterol, Vitamin E which may help keep your arteries plaque-free which can lead to heart attacks and other heart complications, and L-arginine which may help to improve the health of your artery walls making them flexible and less prone to blood clotting.
Eggs are a perfect food to eat any time of the day! Sadly they were once vilified because of the high cholesterol content in the yolks, but studies have shown that the cholesterol from eggs do not have an adverse effect on blood lipids. They do, however, include many nutrients including protein, antioxidants vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate, which may help to lower the risk for heart disease.
Pumpkin is a great low calorie, high fiber food to add to your diet and especially while baking! They are a good source of vitamins and minerals, especially beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium which have all been linked to fighting heart disease.
Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Makes 3-5 small pancakes
- 2 Tbsp Almond flour
- 2 tsp Coconut Flour
- ½ Tbsp Kelapo Coconut Oil plus ½ Tbsp for the pan
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 Tbsp almond milk
- 1 Tbsp dairy-free dark chocolate chips
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
- 1 Tbsp honey or stevia to taste
- dash of baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans
Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix all wet ingredients together in a separate bowl, if coconut oil has hardened then microwave for about 20 seconds until liquid. Once both bowls are mixed, combine into one bowl and mix well.
Set your stove to medium to medium-low heat, preheat skillet. Once the pan is warm, toss in a half Tbsp of Kelapo extra virgin coconut oil to coat the pan. Pour the batter into the pan, makes about 3-5 small cakes, cook pancakes for a couple minutes on both sides until golden brown, flipping once. Top with maple syrup, coconut oil or almond butter. Bon Appétit!
What are some of your favorite heart-healthy ingredients to cook with?
Amber Williford, Holistic Health Coach
ExSoyCise (link http://exsoycise.com)