3 Foods for a Healthy Heart | Natural Gourmet Institute

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3 Foods for a Healthy Heart

Posted February 23, 2018

Last week we celebrated our hearts on Valentine’s Day; this week we’re discussing how to keep our hearts healthy. February is American Heart Month and chances are, we all know someone affected by heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, about 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 38 seconds. (1)

There are plenty of ways to keep our hearts healthy, including stress management, exercise, and a diet focused on whole, quality ingredients. Here are three foods to add to your diet to keep your heart healthy and help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • Chickpeas: Like most legumes, chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are high in fiber, which is a nutrient that most people are lacking in their diets. The fiber found in chickpeas helps lower low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol, which helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Make the chickpea recipe below for a heart healthy snack or salad topping!
  • Potatoes: Potatoes often get a bad rap for their carbohydrate or starch content, but if they are prepared using health-supportive techniques (like this potato salad with shallots and apples), they are actually quite healthy for your heart. Potatoes are high in potassium, which makes them a smart choice for helping lower blood pressure. Potassium encourages vasodilation, or the widening of the blood vessels. (2)
  • Salmon: Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which may decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure slightly, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke and heart failure risk, and reduce irregular heartbeats. (3) Looking for plant-based sources of Omega-3s? Try walnuts or seaweed! Chef Instructor Oliva Roszkowski suggests crumbling nori and using it in a vegan Caesar dressing for anchovy-like undernotes.

(Yield: 3 servings)


  • 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine beans in pressure cooker with salt, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs. Add enough water
    to cover by 1 inch. Bring pot to full pressure. Lower heat and cook for 17 minutes. Remove pot from heat, and allow pressure to come down naturally. Drain beans.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Toss beans in medium bowl with oil, cumin, paprika, fennel, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer beans to parchment-lined half sheet pan and roast until crispy, about 15 minutes.