We all know that parties and events are fraught with delicious temptations cruel to the dieter, diabetic and heart patient.

Wouldn’t it be a dream if you attended parties that served heart healthy dishes yummy enough to please the pickiest gourmet? Is this even possible? Yes it is! We have got several ideas for side dishes, entrées and desserts which guests will rave over and thank you!
I have browsed the many heart healthy cookbooks and magazines to get an impression of how they differ from ordinary cuisine.

My sense was that, they sounded a bit boring and slightly on the stingy side. I decided to bring together a few generic heart healthy recipes, or you may be able to ‘mix-and-match’, swapping out a broccoli for zucchini, for example. Or substituting white rice for brown rice and mushrooms for corn.

Most cooks have a good sense of color, size and texture, and intuitively knowing combinations of foods and ingredients which taste great together. In terms of the ingredients and a variety of food groups, what makes heart healthy recipes tasty, satisfying and even elegant?
Perhaps the first sign is that the dish is low in sodium and fat. Having a low fat or salt content does not at all diminish the taste. Olive oil is usually the oil of choice. Next, use the freshest, top quality produce you can buy. Learn to use the seasonings for fat and salt substitutes to maintain the level of flavor. Use lean meats, poultry, fish and seafood.

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When shopping for grains, breads and pastas, choose whole-grain products which are rich in fiber. To keep the fat down used 2% dairy products. For dessert, fresh fruit served with sherbet and a sprig of mint make simple, heart healthy delicacies that are just right after dinner. By following these basic shopping guidelines and adding a little imagination, you will be able to create the most amazing gourmet delights, ones your heart will appreciate.

You will soon become a connoisseur and master the heart healthy recipes by rolling up your sleeves, getting online and searching through the sites with food and seasoning compatibility charts.

As an example did you know that mine changes the taste of a plain old green bean to a whole new food? Studying and internalizing these charts will become fascinating as you learn how to utilize these herbs and spices which will enhance the taste of a particular food. There are also books that match foods with seasonings in your local bookstores. You will find it handy to purchase a good nutritional reference guide, a wealth of info on nutritional value of various foods. This will help you pair the proper ingredients when creating heart healthy recipes.

As you cook produce, try steaming the vegetables, by doing so the vegetables retain their maximum amount of nutrients, fresh flavor and crunchiness.

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Here are several herbs which make fabulous additions to heart healthy recipes:

1. Artichokes contain cynarin, which helps to control cholesterol levels, by reducing the production of cholesterol in the liver. Cynarin is a natural substance which works similarly to Statin drugs, decreasing the LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. Plus, Cynarin flushes cholesterol deposits from the liver, which reduces and flushes out the fats. Artichokes also helped to raise the HDL’s “good” cholesterol and reduce the LDL’s “bad” cholesterol. Steaming artichoke hearts will make a great side dish, while marinated artichoke hearts are fantastic on antipasto platters and salads.

2. Rosemary is known to be and invigorator for your heart, strengthening and toning the heart functions, helping your blood pressure to normalize. It’s a tasty garnish for beef, pork poultry and mild flavored fish, such as tilapia or butter fish. A fresh rosemary sprig also adds great flavor to roasted vegetables.

3. Cayenne pepper can be used in its fresh or powdered form to bring a little heat to plain rice, or lightly sprinkled on a salad or deviled eggs. Cayenne pepper lowers your blood pressure, as well as straightening and toning your heart. Hot stuff!

4. Garlic is tremendously versatile and a powerful addition to any heart healthy recipes, it can be used to marinate meats, and salads or as a spread on breads. Just go easy on the butter! Garlic is well known for reducing blood pressure, triglycerides and LDLs, while increasing the HDLs. This food hero helps to eliminate fats from your blood and increases your circulation. Garlic packed in a jar may be more convenient, but fresh slivers of garlic are the best for you. Use abundantly and enjoy these many benefits.

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5. Celery seed is a common seasoning and a natural remedy to lower blood pressure, encouraging good circulation and a healthy flow of blood to the heart. Celery seed is tasty in a rice stuffing for poultry dishes. Cook the rice in chicken broth, adding celery seed, fresh parsley, sliced black olives and green onions. Not only does your heart benefit, but Celery Seed tastes wonderful with the poultry. Try adding celery seed to a potato salad, along with diced onions (which also reduces blood pressure) and freshly minced parsley.

Now you have a new repertoire of foods which can be eaten alone or combined in limitless ways, for elegant heart healthy recipes. You can create these dishes on a whim– starting with whole-grain pastas or rice, top the rice with wonderfully seasoned meat or fish and serve a leafy green salad with garlic bread. The possibilities are almost endless and are only limited to your imagination. These dishes taste and look so good, your guests probably won’t know these are heart healthy recipes!