Hypertension (High blood pressure) is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), including ischemic heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation. All of these conditions are known to increase in prevalence in post-menopausal women.
Interestingly, the elements linking cardiovascular wellness, including lower blood pressure levels, and a heart-healthy diet, all focus on reducing vascular stiffness, or endothelial (blood vessel lining) dysfunction.
One of the ways to achieve a heart-healthy diet, is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, increase healthy grains intake, reduce salt and of course, try to reduce the consumption of meat, including processed meat. Both the New Zealand and Australian Heart Foundation’s position on food and nutrition recognises that healthy eating patterns do not rely on one type of food or nutrient to promote heart health, but rather, these are based on a combination of foods, chosen regularly over time.
The heart-friendly principles promoted by the Heart Foundations in both countries encourage people to eat:
1. Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
2. A variety of healthy protein sources: this includes fish and seafood, legumes, nuts and seeds. If eating red meat, limit this to 1-3 times a week.
3. Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. People with high
blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
4. Healthy fat choices: This includes nuts, seeds, avocados, olives
and their oils for cooking.
5. Herbs and spices added to flavour foods, instead of
With these recommendations in mind, I love this Heart-Healthy recipe which I would love you to try. Even your carnivore family members might enjoy the change from meat and I hope they enjoy the sensational salsa to go with the Nut Tacos.
Nut Tacos with Mango Salsa
Modified from Nadia Lim recipe – https://nadialim.com/vegan-tacos-with-nut-meat-and-pineapple-salsa-recipe/
*Recipe requires a Food Processor
- ¾ cup walnuts
- ¾ cup roasted almonds
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes chopped
- 1 clove garlic (small) or ½ medium clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground chilli or cayenne pepper
- 1½ tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1½ cups mango
- 1 avocado
- ½ red onion, finely diced
- A handful of cherry tomatoes
- A handful of coriander, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons lime of lemon juice
- 12 soft corn tortillas or crispy corn taco shells (have a look in your supermarket or health food store for organic tacos which don’t have added preservatives). Alternatively, you could find a recipe for flatbreads, which are a lot of fun to make (especially if you have kids in the house who can lend a hand).
- Low fat Greek yoghurt
- To make the nut-mince, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times until ingredients are crumbly and just combined – be careful that you don’t over-process the mixture or else it will lose its crumbly texture and be too smooth. The texture should reassemble that of crumbly cooked mince.
- Combine all salad ingredients and season to taste with salt, pepper, lime or lemon juice and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Gently heat tacos in the microwave (or according to the packet instructions)
- Serve with a dash of yoghurt and jalapenos if you are brave.
De Pergola G, D’Alessandro A. Influence of Mediterranean Diet on Blood Pressure. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 7;10(11):1700.
Dietary Position Statement: Meat and Heart Healthy Eating. (2019). Australian Heart Foundation.
Tara Shrout Allen, Harpreet S Bhatia, Alexis C Wood, Shabnam R Momin, Matthew A Allison, State-of-the-Art Review: Evidence on Red Meat Consumption and Hypertension Outcomes, American Journal of Hypertension, Volume 35, Issue 8, August 2022, Pages 679–687.
Tasić T, Tadić M, Lozić M. Hypertension in Women. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2022 Jun 3;9:905504. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2022.905504.