Nutritional Therapist Julie DeeksThis week is National Heart Health Week, so lets get your heart ticking better! Here are some tips from our Nutritional Therapist Julie Deeks.

It’s not that difficult, and you don’t have to be Einstein to work it out. Reduce your processed food intake, including foods like sweets, pastries, fizzy drinks and crisps. I like to use the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy foods like vegetables and fruit, lean protein, nuts and seeds 80% of the time. These provide fibre, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.

I listened to an interesting ‘Ted Talk” recently about home cooking. Apparently – and surprisingly! – all home cooked food, which means food cooked from scratch (not beans on toast), was better for you than eating out or paying for a take away. It did not matter the quality of the ingredients or the types of food cooked at home. It proved that processed food, restaurant food and takeaways are laden with sugar, salt and cheap vegetables oils. Even expensive restaurants over season their dishes. Now I was surprised; it meant that no matter what your food budget, cooking from scratch is the answer to a healthier heart!

Yesterday evening, I cooked two Wild Alaskan Salmon fillets, in a pan with a little olive oil, heating very gently, so not to damage the oil. I added chopped ginger, garlic and a sprinkle of Chinese 5 spice and spoonful of water from the cooked broccoli.

I served the salmon with lots of broccoli, avocado and salad. Dressed with lemon juice and cracked pepper. This took me 20 minutes from start to finish. The salmon could cost no more than £4. So much cheaper than a take away!!! Salad is cheap; I always buy Romaine lettuce and wash what I need. I also included some chicory, which is in season at the moment, and adds a lovely purple colour to the plate.

Get your heart healthy and start including more vegetables and fruit like apples, berries and pears. A little exercise is also necessary, after all our heart is a muscle, which needs exercising too. Start slowly and go for a walk a day, ask a friend along for some company… Be inspired this week to look after your heart health.