February is Heart Health Month, so let’s dive into the connection between PCOS and the heart!
People with PCOS have a 4-7x heightened risk of heart disease and this is due to many factors. Higher levels of insulin, androgens, and blood pressure is often associated with PCOS, which can all contribute to cardiovascular disease. However, lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise have been shown to reduce heart disease risk and being aware of these elevated risks can help you take preventative measures.
If you are looking for ways to incorporate more heart healthy foods into your diet, this Tofu Taco Salad Bowl recipe is for you! This dish created by Simona, one of our health coaches, is easy to prepare and makes for a great lunch or dinner!
Keep reading for the full recipe…
What you need to make this recipe
First, let’s go over the ten ingredients you will need to make this recipe and how they can benefit your heart health
- Romaine lettuce: The high potassium content of romaine lettuce can support cardiovascular health. The antioxidant vitamins A and C found in lettuce may contribute to the prevention of plaque formation in the arteries. Additionally, romaine lettuce contains folate, which may reduce the risk of serious heart problems.
- Brown rice: People who consume whole grains, such as brown rice, tend to have a lower risk of heart disease. Whole grains help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which in turn reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
- Corn - Corn is a good source of vitamin C, which protects your cells from damage and can help prevent heart disease and cancer. It is rich in fiber which helps reduce LDL cholesterol.
- Black beans: Packed with fiber, black beans may also help lower cholesterol. Not to mention, black beans are a source of plant-based protein!
- Tofu crumbles: To add additional protein to this dish, tofu crumbles are a great way to incorporate additional nutrition and is a source of calcium, manganese, iron, and vitamin A.
- Cherry tomatoes: Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes. This antioxidant helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels.
- Avocado: A serving of avocado contains 20% of the recommended daily fiber intake. Fiber-rich diets are associated with a 30% reduction in heart disease risk. Also, avocados contain healthy fats that work to lower LDL cholesterol.(1)
- Onions: Onions are packed with antioxidants that help fight inflammation, decrease triglycerides, and reduce cholesterol.
- Cilantro: Also known as coriander, cilantro is a plant commonly used in cooking and herbal medicine. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of this herb contribute to the overall health of the body.
- Olive oil: Like avocados, olive oil is considered a "good" fat. Olive oil consumption has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease by 15% and coronary heart disease by 21% in people who consume more than half a tablespoon of olive oil each day.(2)
Other ways to make this recipe
You can always swap out any ingredients in recipes to suit your personal taste! Below are a few alternative ingredients that you can try:
- Add cheese such as cheddar cheese or Monterey jack
- Swap black beans for pinto beans or chickpeas
- Try other seasonings such as onion powder, taco seasoning, garlic powder, or lime juice
- Use your choice of protein instead of tofu crumbles
- Top with your favorite salsa or pico de gallo
How to Make this Recipe
- 1-2 cups romaine lettuce
- ¾ cup brown rice, cooked
- 1 cup canned corn
- ½ cup black beans (rinsed and drained)
- ½ cup tofu crumbles
- 1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- ½ large avocado
- ¼ cup onions, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tsp taco seasoning
- Chop or shred the lettuce and place in a bowl.
- Slice cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl. Then, add chopped onions and cilantro to the mixture.
- Heat tofu crumbles and taco seasoning in a pan with olive oil until golden brown.
- On one side of the bowl, place brown rice and corn.
- After rinsing and draining the black beans, add them to the bowl. Place tofu crumbles with the beans.
- Add 1/2 avocado to the bowl after slicing or cubing it.
- Enjoy with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt to taste!