Take Valentine’s Day to Heart!

BY CROÍ'S LEAD DIETITIAN, SUZANNE SEERY

As Valentine’s Day is approaching, it’s time to get creative! How about spending quality time with that special someone by preparing a heart healthy meal together? You can spice things up in the kitchen by using a range of herbs and spices to boost the senses and add plenty of flavour while avoiding added salt.

The colour red is often associated with love, passion and desire, so the recipes chosen feature red fruit and vegetables! Fruit and vegetables come in lots of different colours which represents the variety of antioxidants in these foods. Antioxidants are known to help keep our immune system strong, protect our body’s cells from damage and reduce the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Red fruit and vegetables get their colour from Lycopene which is known to have antioxidant properties that may help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Lycopene is more easily absorbed in the body when it’s cooked such as in the homemade tomato and basil soup recipe included in your Valentines dinner menu!

Not only will you have fun cooking together, you will also spend a lot less as this three course meal can be prepared for less than €20 (see recipes below)!

3 Course Valentine’s Dinner Menu:

This delicious soup costs less than €5 and takes only half an hour to make! It also contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which contribute to strong hair, skin and nails, enzyme regulation and the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 bulb garlic cloves
  • 1 kg of vine / regular fresh tomatoes
  • 4 semi-sundried tomatoes

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400F/Gas Mark 6.  Place the tomatoes on the vine and garlic in a large roasting pan, drizzle with 2 tablespoon olive oil and roast in the oven for 25 minutes or until the tomatoes have burst. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
  2. Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin and remove the vine from the tomatoes.
  3. Place the garlic flesh and roasted tomatoes into a large pan, add the sundried tomatoes, basil (reserving a few leaves for garnish), and 3 tbsp olive oil. Blitz with a handheld blender until smooth, then add enough liquid to reach the desired consistency.
  4. Serve warm with a few leaves of basil torn, and some wholemeal brown bread.

This unique main course will bring your senses on a whole new adventure as you explore various Mediterranean spices. Not only will you be pleasantly surprised, you will also be doing your heart a favour. This lean-protein dish uses heart healthy olive oil or rapeseed oil, which are unsaturated fats. It also contains 3 servings of vegetables per portion and is high in vitamin C and fibre!

Ingredients:

  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 124g lean turkey breast mince (< 8% fat)
  • ½ small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves grated
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3-4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 low-salt chicken stock cube
  • 2-3 teaspoons of  dried oregano
  • 60g low-fat mozzarella, grated
  • 150g green vegetables to serve.

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Halve the peppers length-ways, then remove the seeds and core but keep the stalks on. Rub the peppers with a drizzle of olive oil and season well. Put on a baking tray and roast for 15 mins.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Fry the mince for 2-3 mins, stirring to break up the chunks, then tip onto a plate.
  3. Wipe out your pan, then heat the rest of the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, stir-fry for 2-3 mins, then add the cumin and mushrooms and cook for 2-3 mins more.
  4. Tip the mince back into the pan and add the chopped tomatoes and tomato purée. Crumble in the stock cube and cook for 3-4 mins, then add the oregano and season. Remove the peppers from the oven and fill them with as much of the mince as you can. (Don’t worry if some spills out it – it will go satisfyingly crisp in the oven.) Top with the cheese and return to the oven for 10-15 mins until the cheese starts to turn golden.

Enjoy and feel guilt free in building your own fruit bowl! This activity is fun, rewarding and will allow you to show your great creative self.

Choose a mixture of berries such as strawberries, raspberries and seasonal fruits.

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Reflexology Helping Stroke Survivors

Excerpt from the 2018 Croí Annual Report

Penny Jones has been practicing complementary therapies for many years, and for the past six years she has worked with 800+ stroke survivors in Galway, in a Reflexology project funded by Croí.

One morning each week, Penny alternates her time between three stroke units: St. Anne’s Ward at University Hospital Galway, Hospital Ground, and Unit 4 at Merlin Park Hospital, meeting with patients who are recovering from acute and long-term affects of stroke.

The effects of stroke can vary widely and depend on what part of the brain has been injured. A stroke survivor may experience paralysis, muscle weakness or loss of sensation on one side of the body.

The Reflexology treatment supports the body’s natural healing process and helps patients recovering from a stroke to relax. “It works especially well before a patient receives physiotherapy as it improves circulation and the patient has greater awareness of the stroke affected part of the body,” says Penny.

Penny’s background is in Nursing and Yoga, which compliments her practice of Reflexology. “The hospital staff are so supportive and really see the benefits for patients. It’s a real treat for patients… I listen to their stories and the treatment allows them a chance to truly relax and feel at ease,” says Penny.

 

Read more about Croí’s Stroke Support services in our 2018 Annual Report!

What is Reflexology?
Reflexology was first practiced by the ancient Egyptians and is based on the principal that all the areas on the body are mapped out on the feet. During a treatment, the feet are worked on with finger pressure inducing deep relaxation, cleansing, revitalising and balancing the whole system.

FREE Heart Health Checks in Ballina for 65+ year olds

The Key to Healthy Ageing is a Healthy Heart says Croí – Announcing FREE Heart Health Checks for 65+ year olds

Date: Wednesday, November 13th
Location: Great National Hotel, Ballina, Co. Mayo

The key to healthy ageing is a healthy heart. Understandably, ageing naturally causes changes in the heart and blood vessels and these age-related changes often increase your risk of heart disease or stroke. People aged 65+ are much more likely than younger people to develop heart problems, but many of these conditions, if detected and treated early, can be managed so as to significantly reduce their impact on health and longevity.

In today’s world, thanks to medical and technological innovation, we are living longer. By the year 2050, 1 in 5 people worldwide will be over the age of 60 years of age. In fact, for the first time in human history we are close to a time when across the world there will be more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 15. The Croí Third Age Programme is focused on our increasingly ageing society and the aim is to ensure that as we live longer we also maintain our health and quality of life. The greatest barrier to this is age-related cardiovascular diseases. That’s why on June 19th, local heart and stroke charity, Croí, is offering free heart health checks at the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre in Newcastle, Galway.

So, if you are over the age of 65Not attending a cardiologist, and have Not had a heart health check in the past 6 months (e.g., blood pressure check / your heart listened to), then Croí invites you to this special FREE heart health check.

Places are limited and you must register in advance.
Time slots are available from 10.00am – 5.00pm.

Reserve your space now by calling Croí on 091-544310.

 

Reserve your space now by calling Croí on 091-544310.

Sold-out Night Run raises €70k for Croí!

The sold-out 5th Annual Croí Night Run took place last Friday (October 11) along the Salthill Prom in Galway. Over 1,500 runners and walkers, including 16 local corporate teams, came out in support of Croí’s largest fundraising event of the year. This year virtual runners even took part in the event, running the Night Run from Longford and Chicago! Croí is thrilled to announce that over €70,000 was raised, a new record. 100% of the proceeds will go to support Croí’s life-saving work in the community and at Croí Centre, thanks to the continued sponsorship of Evergreen Healthfoods.

The race was chip-timed and participants can check out their race time at croi.ie/nightrun. Keeping it close to home, Daragh O’Reilly, son of Kevin O’Reilly – Croí’s Board Chairman, crossed the finish line first with an incredible time of 16:55! Photos from the event are posted to Croí’s Facebook page @croiheartstroke.

“We are so overwhelmed by the incredible response this year! To sell-out in our 5th year is fantastic and we are already planning for a bigger and better event again next year. Let’s get 2,020 runners on the Prom for 2020! We’re so grateful to all our participants, volunteers and our generous sponsors Evergreen Healthfoods and iRadio for making this our biggest year yet. Every euro raised will go directly to supporting the work at Croí and the fight against heart disease and stroke,” says Christine Flanagan, Croí’s Fundraising Director.

Stay tuned for 2020! Due to the incredible demand this year, we will be adding extra spaces for 2020 and opening our registration early. Save the date for Friday, October 9, 2020.

 

See croi.ie for more information and follow Croí on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @croiheartstroke.

5th Annual Croí Night Run
5th Annual Croí Night Run
5th Annual Croí Night Run_ (57)