Super Bowl Snacks Good For Your Heart
Super Bowl snacks are near the top of the list of the favorite reasons why people enjoy this yearly football tradition. Given that a new study from Britain has noted the reduced risk of heart disease among people who consume a vegetarian diet and the tendency for Super Bowl snacks to be less than heart healthy, it seems a good time to emphasize the importance of heart friendly snacks for the big game.
Vegetarian foods are heart friendly
The new study noted that vegetarians had a 32 percent lower risk of ischemic heart disease than did nonvegetarians. More than 44,000 adults were evaluated in the study, and they were followed for an average of more than 11 years. The study’s authors noted that the benefits of a vegetarian diet were likely mediated by improved cholesterol levels and a lower systolic blood pressure.
Although the Super Bowl may have some heart-stopping moments, you don’t want the food you eat around game time to do the same. That’s why you may want to consider some vegetarian options for your Super Bowl snacks this year that can help keep your cholesterol and blood pressure in line.
Super Bowl and barbecue sauce go together
If you can’t get through a Super Bowl without barbecue sauce, then here’s a recipe for a fat-free, sugar-free sauce that is perfect to use when making a healthy substitute for chicken wings: barbecued Portobello mushrooms and BBQ broiled broccoli.
First you need to prepare the BBQ sauce (recipe below), let it cool, and then use it as a marinade for
- 1 pound of Portobello mushroom slices. If you buy the caps, rinse them, pat dry, and then cut off the stems at the cap. Cut the caps into ½ inch thick slices
- 1 pound broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces, then steam for one minute.
Heart Healthy BBQ Sauce
Makes about 1 ½ cup sauce
1 red onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 6-oz can tomato paste
¼ cup sugarless catsup
¼ to ½ teaspoon liquid Stevia
2 Tbs spicy mustard
½ tsp cumin powder
1 Tbs liquid smoke
1 ½ cups water
Saute the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes in a skillet treated with spray-on oil. Add all the remaining ingredients except the liquid smoke and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the liquid smoke and check the flavor at this point. If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of water. If you want it hotter, add a few drops of hot sauce; sweeter, add a drop or two of Stevia. Simmer an additional 10 minutes. Cool and then marinate the mushroom slices and broccoli florets.
A few minutes before the marinated mushroom slices and broccoli florets have reached their one-hour mark, preheat the broiler. Place the marinated mushrooms and broccoli on broiler pans in a single layer and broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 8 to 10 minutes or under tender. Serve hot.
Heart healthy popcorn
Forget the artery-clogging butter and enjoy fiber-rich popcorn with a twist. Use a hot air popper to prepare the corn and spray the finished popcorn with butter-flavored spray-on oil. Choose your favorite flavoring—garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, black pepper—and season well. Add a little salt if desired, and enjoy!
These Super Bowl snacks are good for your heart because they are very low in fat and calories, have no cholesterol, are a good source of fiber, and provide a healthy dose of antioxidants. Here’s to a heart healthy Super Bowl!
Crowe FL et al. Risk of hospitalization or death from ischemic heart disease among British vegetarians and nonvegetarians: results from the EPIC-Oxford cohort study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2013 Jan 30.
This story was updated on February 2, 2013.
Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Leif K-Brooks