Don’t Die Young: Protect Your Heart!


One minute we are laughing and joking, the next minute poof, we are gone! Sounds a little bit melodramatic, doesn’t it? Well, it does happen.

It was a sad day when the Ghanaian BBC journalist, Komla Dumor died. So young, vibrant, talented, a great father and husband. His story, however, is not a rare one. We’ve learnt of many more like him whose lives were cut short due to cardiac arrest. Reading his story made me think about how our lifestyle choices impact our health, and in this case the condition of our heart in relation to food.

A cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack but can result from it. Heart problems indicate underlying conditions which include clogging of the arteries that supply food and oxygen to the heart thus keeping it ticking and healthy. When this process is disturbed then we have problems. Food plays a big part in the way our heart functions.

The following is a simple recipe to consider when cooking to maintain a healthy heart.




Brown rice– rich in fibre (can be boiled or fried using unsaturated oils). Research evidence have shown that a component of a layer of tissue surrounding brown rice grains work against angiotensin II which is the culprit protein in the development of hypertension and atherosclerosis which puts you at risk of developing a cardiac arrest and/or a heart attact.

Peppers– scientific evidence have shown that the antioxidants in peppers prevent the oxidation of cholesterol which is the cause of free radical damage to the heart and blood vessels. The risk of blood clot formation and stroke is also significantly reduced by diets high in antioxidants.

Sardines– rich in Vitamins B12 and D, sardines support cardiovascular health. The nutrients in them also boost blood circulation and build red blood cells which in turn increase the flow of oxygen around the body.

Parsley– contains Vitamin K for heart and circulatory health.

Lemon juice– the magnesium in them is crucial for a healthy heart. Furthermore, its pectin content and limonoid compounds help to keep cholesterol levels under control.

Pine nuts– Vitamins and minerals in them help maintain normal metabolic functions.

Method: Mix together one tablespoon each of the cooked and cooled off brown rice, toasted pine nuts, and fried peppers, a dash of lemon juice, and one teaspoon of chopped parsley, mint and drill. Divide between 6 whole cleaned sardines, packing the stuffing inside each fish. Wrap a vine leaf around each fish to hold it together. Brush with olive oil and grill 4-5 minutes, turning halfway through. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Don’t die young, start protecting your heart today!

Source: Recipe courtesy of Healing Foods recipe book.

Healing foods: eat your way to a healthier life


Bertha Mukodzani is the author of the book A Life Steered which can be purchased on amazon, blogger, qualified nurse and a writer of many articles published by various publications.


    • Thank you for your comment and question Privilege. To put it simply, antioxidants are man-made or natural substances (some supplements although I personally don’t think they should replace natural food) that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables e.g. onions, leeks, garlic, pumpkins, leafy greens, cabbage, lean meat, avocados, fish, oranges, corn, watermelon and so on. I hope it helps.

      If you have any more questions please do ask!


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