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Top 10 Ingredients for Recession-Proof, Healthy Cooking
Date:2/4/2009

Celebrate American Heart Month by Shopping Smart for Your Heart

CHICAGO, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Now is a good time to stock your kitchen with ingredients that will help you weather tough economic times and stick with healthy New Year resolutions. The following heart-smart ingredients are all less than $1 per serving, free of artificial trans fat and relatively low in saturated fat, while offering important nutrients. They are also widely available. Combine several of these ingredients to get a range of nutritious and delicious meals.

"Cooking at home is one of best ways to save money and ensure healthy choices," says Janet Evans, CanolaInfo spokeswoman for American Heart Month, mother and four-time Olympic gold medalist. "I use the following ingredients to make simple, delicious meals for my family."

1. Pour Your Heart into Canola Oil

Canola oil is the perfect base for any dish. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim that 1.5 tablespoons of canola oil per day may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.(1) Canola oil is free of trans fat and has the least saturated fat and the most omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) of all common cooking oils.

2. Pulse for Health

Pulse crops, such as lentils and dry beans (e.g., black and red kidney beans), contain nutrients found in both vegetable and meat food groups, including significant protein, fiber, folate, iron and other minerals. Lentils and dry beans are naturally low in fat, calories, sodium and sugar and cholesterol-free.

3. Best Cluck for Your Buck

Both the chicken and the egg come first regarding nutrition. A skinless chicken breast has roughly 24 grams of complete protein and less than 1 gram of saturated fat. One egg has 13 essential nutrients, including protein, folate, choline, iron and zinc, for only 75 calories.

4. Save Moo-lah on Lean Proteins

Ninety-five percent lean ground beef has only 2.4 grams of saturated fat and is high in protein, zinc, B vitamins, iron, selenium and phosphorus. Low-fat cottage cheese is a great source of protein and calcium.

5. Go Fish

Not only high in protein and B vitamins, canned or pouch tuna and salmon are excellent sources of heart-smart omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Tuna and salmon also offer a range of minerals, such as selenium and phosphorus.

6. Think Green

Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and green beans are free of saturated fat and cholesterol and good sources of fiber and antioxidants like vitamin C. Broccoli is also high in folate and a good source of potassium. Spinach is high in vitamin A, iron and folate and a good source of magnesium.

7. Choose ABC Fruits

Apples, bananas and citrus fruits are fat-, cholesterol- and sodium-free. Apples are particularly high in fiber. Bananas are a good source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C; oranges are also a good source of fiber and pink/red grapefruit is high in vitamin A.

8. Go with the Whole Grain

Whole grains are among the best sources of dietary fiber, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease. They also have some valuable antioxidants not found in fruits and vegetables as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, iron and magnesium.

9. Enjoy a Taste of the Sun

Raisins are a good source of antioxidants, potassium, iron and fiber. They are fat- and cholesterol-free and naturally low in sodium.

10. Get in Touch with Your Roots

Underground vegetables like carrots and potatoes are fat- and cholesterol-free and low in sodium. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and good source of vitamin C with few calories. Potatoes are high in vitamin C and a good source of potassium.

"This is a great combination of wholesome foods that provide essential nutrients and good quality protein," adds Dr. Diane Morris, nutrition scientist with Mainstream Nutrition. "Canola oil complements all of these foods to make a range of heart- and budget-friendly meals - from soup and stew to beans and rice, stir-fry and meat with roasted vegetables."

For recipes using these ingredients, including prices per serving and nutrient analysis, go to www.CanolaInfo.org.

(1) Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1 1/2 tablespoons (19 grams) of canola oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in canola oil. To achieve this possible benefit, canola oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product contains [x] grams of canola oil.

CanolaInfo is the information source for consumers, health professionals, chefs, media, educators - everyone who wants to know more about the world's healthiest oil - canola. The CanolaInfo team is supported by North America's canola growers, crop input suppliers, exporters, processors, food manufacturers and governments.


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