Pump Up the Love for Your Lifesaver – Tips & Recipes for a Heart-Healthy You - SPARSH Hospital

Published in : Nutrition | September 19, 2023 |

Pump Up the Love for Your Lifesaver – Tips & Recipes for a Heart-Healthy You

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World Heart Day, observed annually on 29th September, serves as a reminder to everyone around the world to take care of their hearts. Cardio vascular disease (CVD) is the world’s number one killer, causing 18.6 million deaths per year. CVD is a class of disease that affects the heart or blood vessels (arteries & veins).

Even if your heart is strong and doing good, it can become vulnerable from habitual risk factors like obesity, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, eating an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. In the last 50 years increased production of processed foods, rapid urbanization and changing life style have led to a shift in dietary patterns. People are consuming more foods high in energy, fats, sugars, salt and are not eating enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc.,

Factors to consider to improve heart health:

  • Eat healthy
  • Get active: it is advisable to exercise a minimum of 30 min/day 5 days a week (brisk walking, jogging, swimming, playing a sport suitable for your age like tennis, badminton, squash, basketball)
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from second hand smoke (passive smoking).
  • Keep your cholesterol levels (HDL, LDL, VLDL & triglycerides) and blood pressure readings in the normal range. If you are diabetic, keep your sugar levels under control.
  • Avoid alcohol, but if you must take a drink occasionally, drink in moderation.
  • Manage stress through exercise, yoga, prayer and meditation.
  • Try to get 7-9 hrs of sound sleep every night.

Foods to include in your daily diet:

  • Whole grains: red, brown & parboiled or unpolished rice, whole wheat flour, millets like ragi, foxtail millet, pearl millet, legumes and lentils- red, green & black gram, beans- kidney beans, black eyed peas, soya beans, chick peas.
  • According to NIN (National Institute of Nutrition, India) minimum 5 portions of fruits & vegetables per day (500g) is recommended in a normal healthy diet.
  • Studies have shown that people who ate fruits and vegetables in good amounts regularly had a 20% lower risk of developing heart diseases as they contain good amounts of fiber, potassium and magnesium which can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. Antioxidants in the fruits and vegetables protect the heart by reducing inflammation.
  • Include all green leafy vegetables- spinach, kale & other locally grown greens.
  • Other vegetables to be included are the different gourds- bottle, snake, bitter & ridge gourds, carrots, brinjal, red, green & yellow peppers. Include different coloured vegetables in the diet as they are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants which have protective function for the heart.
  • Include fruits like apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, avocados, melons, guavas and all berries-black, blue & strawberries
  • Nuts and seeds: The American heart association suggest to include seeds and nuts about 40g, 3 – 4 times a week. eg: chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts & hazel nuts. These are rich in PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) & MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) which are conducive to the heart as they keep cholesterol in normal range.
  • Include low fat yogurt, tofu and unsweetened soy milk as they are good sources of healthy plant proteins.
  • Flesh foods: lean white meat like chicken or fatty fishes ( high in omega 3 fatty acids) like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and egg whites are good sources of non-vegetarian proteins and are heart healthy too.
  • Cooking oils like sunflower oil, canola, safflower oil, filtered unrefined sesame or peanut oil, olive oil or rice bran oil can be used for cooking in limited amounts- 3-4 tea spoons (20g)/day
  • WHO recommends to limit the cooking salt to 5g/ day ( 1 tea spoon/day)
  • Hence all naturally salted foods like tinned, canned and all processed foods to avoided.
  • Drinking at least 2.5 -3 L water/ day is advised.

‘Cook your Way to a Healthy Heart’ with our Nutritionist Recommended Recipes:

1. Lentil & Paneer Soup


  • 1 cup masoor (split red lentil) dal , washed and
  • 1 cup low fat paneer (cottage cheese) cubes
  • ½ tsp oil
  • 1/8 cup sliced onions
  • 1/8 tsp crushed garlic (lehsun)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/8 cup chopped tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp lemon juice


  • To make masoor dal and paneer soup, heat 1 tsp of oil in a pressure cooker, add the onions and sauté on a medium flame for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and chilli powder and sauté on a medium flame for a few seconds.
  • Add the masoor dal, tomatoes and 2½ cups of water, mix well and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
  • Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid. Cool slightly and blend in a mixer to a smooth purée.
  • Transfer the purée into a deep non-stick pan, add the salt and mix well.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tsp of oil in a small broad pan.
  • Add the paneer cubes and saute on a medium flame for 1 minute.
  • Add the sauteed paneer cubes and lemon juice to the soup and mix gently.
  • Serve the masoor dal and paneer soup immediately.

2. High Protein Veg Salad


  • 4 cups mixed greens (such as spinach, kale, and arugula-(in kannada Hatharaki soppu)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or almonds
  • ¼ cup crumbled tofu

For the Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large salad bowl, combine the mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and nuts.
  • Sprinkle the crumbled tofu over the salad.
  • In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard sauce , minced garlic, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the salad just before serving.
  • Toss the salad gently to coat all the ingredients with the dressing.

This salad is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats from the nuts and olive oil. The vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals while keeping the salad low in calories and saturated fats. Enjoy this delicious and nutritious heart-friendly salad!

3. Jowar Pyaz Ki Roti


  • 1 cup jowar (sorghum) flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped spring onions (stalk& leaves)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped green chillies
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut oil or till oil or rice bran oil
  • salt to taste
  • jowar (sorghum) flour for rolling
  • 2 tsp of oil or oil for cooking ( to brush over the rotis while cooking)


  • To make jowar pyaz ki roti, combine all the ingredients in a deep bowl and knead into a soft dough using approximately ½ cup of hot water.
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll each portion into a 150 mm. (6″) diameter thick circle using a little jowar flour for rolling.
  • Heat a non-stick tava (griddle) and cook each roti, using ½ tsp of oil, till brown spots appear on both the sides.
  • Serve jowar pyaz ki roti immediately with low fat curd or any vegetable curry

4. Chickpea and Spinach Curry


  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes (low-sodium if available)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh dhania (Coriander) leaves for garnishing


  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium heat.
  • Add chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and grated ginger. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
  • Add the ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Cook for a minute or two to toast the spices.
  • Pour in the diced tomatoes with their juices. Cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  • Add the chickpeas and let them simmer in the tomato mixture for 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir in the fresh spinach leaves and cook until they wilt and become tender.
  • Season the curry with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Serve the chickpea and spinach curry hot with brown rice or whole wheat naan.

This curry is low in saturated fats and includes chickpeas, which are a good source of plant-based protein and fiber. Spinach adds essential vitamins and minerals, and the spices provide flavor without excessive salt. Enjoy this delicious and nutritious meal that supports heart health!

5. Quinoa Veg Upma


  • ½ cup quinoa , washed and drained
  • 2 tsp oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped green chillies
  • ½ tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp raw peanuts
  • ½ cup finely chopped onions
  • ½ cup green peas
  • ¼ cup finely chopped carrot
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ cup finely chopped coriander (dhania)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  • To make quinoa veg upma, heat the oil in a deep non-stick pan, add the mustard seeds and asafetida (hing) and sauté on a medium flame for a few seconds.
  • Add the green chillies, ginger and curry leaves and sauté on a medium flame for a few seconds.
  • Add the peanuts and sauté on a medium flame for 1 minute.
  • Add the onions and sauté on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
  • Add the green peas and carrot and sauté on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
  • Add the quinoa and sauté on a medium flame for 1 minute.
  • Add the chilli powder, salt and 2¼ cups of hot water, mix well cover with a lid and cook on a medium flame for 20 to 22 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
  • Switch off the flame, add the coriander and lemon juice and mix well.

Serve the quinoa veg upma immediately.

6. Greek Yogurt with Berries and Almonds Dessert


  • ½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped almonds (unsalted)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional, for added sweetness)


  • Take a small bowl or cup and spoon in the Greek yogurt.
  • Top the yogurt with the mixed berries and chopped almonds.
  • If desired, drizzle a small amount of honey over the yogurt and berries for added sweetness.
  • Mix the ingredients together or enjoy them layered.

Greek yogurt is a good source of protein and probiotics, while berries provide antioxidants and fiber. Almonds contain healthy fats and are rich in vitamins and minerals. This combination makes for a satisfying and heart-healthy dessert that can help keep your energy levels boosted and supports your cardiovascular health.


Ms. Sheela Joseph

Consultant Nutrition

5 Mins Read

Categories: Nutrition

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