Mediterranean Lentil Soup Recipe (heart-healthy)
Chances are you have heard of the Mediterranean Diet. If not, you are probably at least familiar with the foods included in this meal plan and how they may positively affect heart health.
Of course, physical activity is critical to heart health. Even an activity as simple as walking for 30 minutes 5 or 6 days a week is enough to get your blood flowing to show positive health benefits. The CDC recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. Children ages 6 to 17 are recommended to get 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day, while preschool-aged children should be physically active throughout the day with plenty of opportunities for active play.
But you have probably also heard the old adage, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” While being active is one of the best things you can do for the ticker, what and how you eat also plays an important role.
I would argue the Mediterranean Diet is one of the healthiest meal plans available currently. It’s been shown to improve blood lipid profiles (especially low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides), decrease oxidation of lipids, and decrease the risk of thrombosis (i.e., fibrinogen levels)—all changes that indicate improvements in endothelial function.
The Mediterranean Diet limits saturated fat, which typically comes from animal products like red meat and butter. Instead, it emphasizes sources of unsaturated fats or the type of fat that can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood, which can, in turn, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
The following is a heart-healthy, warming, delicious soup/stew that checks all the boxes. Let me know what you think!
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 carrot peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk peeled and diced
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 kale small bunch
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 14 oz can brown lentils drained and rinsed
- 14 oz can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- bay leaf optional
- Heat oil over the stovetop in a large pot.
- Add carrot, onion, celery, and garlic.
- Cook for three to five minutes until the onions are translucent and the carrots are soft.
- Add stock and tomatoes, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
- Add lentils, beans, and kale, and cook for an additional 10 minutes until all flavors marry.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve!
- Garnish with oyster crackers, parmesan cheese, parsley, or avocado.