Silent Signs of Heart Disease in Women

Women Heart Health Tips

Most people don’t realize that heart disease and stroke are the #1 killer of women. Many have the misconception that heart disease is a man’s disease, but the reality is that each year one in every three women will die of heart disease and stroke.

In honor of National Heart Month and GO RED for Women month, I am joining the movement to help women know the facts and that they can prevent heart disease. In fact, 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.1

Get to Know the Facts

  • One of 3 women dies from heart disease, equal to the prevalence in men.
  • More women than men die from heart attacks and strokes.
  • Women typically develop cardiovascular symptoms about a decade later than men, and the disease is often riskier and more complicated to treat. Women are also more likely to be disabled after a heart attack or stroke.
  • At menopause, a woman’s heart diseaserisk starts to increase significantly, so start prevention before menopause.
  • 90 percent of women have at least one risk factor for developing heart disease.
  • Women’s symptoms are often overlooked at emergency rooms, or doctors’ offices. That is why it is CRUCIAL for you to be in the know and to be pro-active if symptoms are present.
  • Women don’t have “typical” symptoms and symptoms do not always include chest pain. Commonly, the only symptom is extreme fatigue, or fatigue upon exertion or “just not feeling right.” You can see why this symptom is misdiagnosed. Fatigue can result from lack of sleep, lifestyle, allergies, colds, and many other conditions, but at times it is a sign of heart disease.

Recognize the Symptoms

Heart Attack

  • unexplained prolonged fatigue
  • chest discomfort , pressure or chest pain (not as severe as men’s)
  • pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw or stomach pain
  • shortness of breath, with or without exertion
  • light-headedness or headache
  • confusion
  • nausea or indigestion
  • sweating

Stroke

F.A.S.T. is an acronym used for the most common signs and symptoms of stroke. These signs tend to appear suddenly and every second matters so it’s crucial to act fast.

  • Face. Ask the person to smile. Does the face look uneven? Does one side droop?
  • Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down or is it unable to move?
  • Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound strange? Strange speech could be slurred, the wrong words may come out, or the person is unable to speak.
  • Time to call 9-1-1.

Understand the Risk Factors

Be alert to your risk status for heart disease. Each risk factor increases your risk. These include:

  • Age 55 or older – no matter how healthy you are
  • Smoking, which increases heart risk 7 times more in women than in men
  • Diabetes, which increases risk by 3-fold
  • Being overweight or having abdominal fat (a waist size over 35 inches)
  • African-American women over age 20 – almost 50% have heart disease
  • Hispanic women – who typically get heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women
  • High blood pressure – 1 in 3 women over age 65 have or will have HBP
  • Cholesterol over 200 – which means 70% of women
  • High triglycerides (blood fats) over 125
  • Sedentary living, including more than 10 hrs of TV a week
  • Menopause – at any age
  • Depression/stress (ups risk 2.5 times)
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Family history or personal history of a heart condition

Scary, isn’t it? How many risk factors do you have? Which can you reverse or control?

Here’s the good news: 80 percent of all heart disease is preventable and even reversible by making lifestyle changes in your eating and activity habits.  

We can all make changes. Be proactive! Do not wait for your doctor to tell you to eat fresh food or shed a few pounds. Rid your pantry of packaged foods with extra salt, sugar and saturated and trans fats. Vow to eat a heart-healthy diet that is plant-focused with lean proteins and liquid vegetable oils. Add salads, beans, nuts, fruit and wholegrains to your daily diet along with lean cuts of beef and pork and nonfat dairy foods. You can do this. Take a 30 minute brisk walk daily in your neighborhood, mall or gym. You can break it up into three 10-minute walks. It all starts with one step.

Making these changes, you will soon reap the benefits – improved, less inflamed arteries, better blood flow, lower blood fats and a lessened risk for heart attacks and stroke. The sooner you start, the better. The longer the damage continues, the tougher for you to turn around. Please take preventative, aggressive action. Every bite and every step count.

Start eating better and move more today. You are worth it!

For more ideas on heart-healthy eating and successful solutions, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips and eating plans makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/GeorgiaKostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators.                                                        

1Source: The American Heart Association

Kick Off Time! Solutions, Not Resolutions

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It’s January — time to kick-start your renewed commitment to healthy living!

A survey conducted by the University of Scranton found that last year, the number one New Year’s resolution for Americans was “to lose weight”, with “staying fit and healthy” ranking closely behind. However, only 8% were successful in reaching these goals.1

So what happens? What can we do to uphold our 2015 goals?

Simply put – resolutions are not powerful enough. This year, vow to make lifelong solutions, notJanuary” resolutions. Following are five key tips to help you reach your health and wellness goals:

  1. Make a Plan – Specify when, where and how you will take action. The best way to succeed is to write down what you will eat before you eat it. You will eat better. This creates mindfulness, focus and portion control. Plot out your breakfast for the next morning the night before. Chances are you will be more inclined to eat breakfast. And you’ll minimize food cravings the rest of the day. Pack a “fit-lunch” the night before and you’ll find eating better is automatic. To prevent afternoon unhealthy cravings, pack up fresh veggies like cherry or grape tomatoes, baby carrots or red bell pepper strips in baggies to have on-hand to for on-the-go snacks. You’ll use them if they are waiting for you! And plan ahead for dinners after work, to make cooking a snap.
  1. Kick Up the Flavor – Make healthy foods more enjoyable by adding more intense flavors. Nutritious foods that taste great create a sustainable habit. Check out McCormick’s tips on how to boost flavor in simple meals in their 30 Ways in 30 Days guide. Smokey flavors are “hot” in 2015.
  1. Keep it Simple Find three dishes that can become your signature go-to dishes that are fast, fun, delicious and healthy. Consider broiled salmon or fish, a skillet beef dish or stir-fried recipe, a crockpot stew. Serve with fresh steamed, sautéed or roasted vegetables (fresh or frozen) and raw vegetables as in salads or sliced with hummus or avocado or a Greek yogurt-based dip. Commit to cooking three dinners at home each week. They are typically healthier and provide you with leftovers to enjoy all week long. Try cooking and freezing on weekends. Or, make a homemade healthier version of a dish you love at your favorite restaurant. Substitute healthy ingredients (like leaner beef cuts or more veggies or olive oil rather than butter). You will look forward to your tasty homemade meals.
  1. Set Yourself Up for Success – Create a system that helps you stay focused and organized. Pre-plan weekly meals. Buy a journal to keep a food and fitness log. Track your decisions and accomplishments. Take a few moments daily to reflect on what you did and could do better next time. Reflection and re-solution time are as important as time spent planning and acting on your original solution.
  1. Get Help, Support and Accountability – Pick someone you can go to for assistance if you run into obstacles or negative thinking. Meet with a registered dietitian/ nutritionist (RDN), your credentialed food and health expert, to create a personalized plan of action for you and “coach” you till you reach your goals. Commit to an exercise buddy or class or set time daily to walk or do an exercise you enjoy. Add this time to your daily calendar and let nothing interfere. This is your sacred time. Look for a role model, perhaps someone who has achieved what you want to. Reach out and connect with him/her to learn their success tips.

Above all, be positive. To make a new habit stick, practice the specific solutions that work for you, and re-solutions as needed. Repeat, repeat, repeat. The year 2015 will be the year you turn your dream health goals into reality…with lifelong results.

For more ideas on healthy eating and successful solutions, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips and eating plans makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators.

Source

1University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology,statisticbrain.com

Is Christmas on Your Plate?

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“Put Christmas on your plate every time you eat” is one of my favorite mantras to my patients.

Eating fruits and vegetables of a variety of different colors leads to the best all-around health benefits. This time of year there’s an abundance of red and green festive foods, which can be real standouts when it comes to nutrition. Red and greens denote vitamins A, C and B, and important anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that protect our arteries, boost our immune systems and help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Don’t forget to add yourself to your Christmas list and give yourself the Christmas gift of health this season — every time you eat.

Here are some of my favorite red and green food combos that are packed with nutrition. Try some:

  • Roasted vegetables including red onion, red and green bell peppers, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini
  • Christmas rice with cranberries and baby kale strips added to wild rice (*recipe below)
  • Green beans in tomato sauce
  • Broccoli sautéed with red bell peppers or sliced in half grape tomatoes
  • Raw broccoli salad with red dried cranberries, cashews, red onion added; combine with a little Ranch dressing
  • Roasted red bell and green bell peppers on sandwiches or in fajita wraps
  • Asparagus with red bell pepper strips or pimiento strips
  • Stuffed red and green peppers with ground beef/rice or bean or quinoa or wild rice stuffing (**recipe below)
  • Red plum tomatoes cut in half lengthwise and filled with feta cheese /cucumber/ mint or basil leaves
  • Tomato soup garnished with a sprinkle of sliced green onions
  • Steamed spinach served with raw grape tomatoes cut in half
  • Fruit salad with strawberries, greens and red grapes
  • Tuna salad with red grape halves, green onion and chopped spinach leaves
  • Brussels sprouts sautéed, with walnuts and dried cranberries added before serving
  • Brussels sprouts sautéed with onion and red bell pepper slices
  • Green beans with cranberries and almonds (***recipe below)
  • Red beets and reunion on a green lettuce bed
  • Red beans and wild rice combined and served on a plate of cooked spinach
  • Guacamole topped with pico de gallo (chopped red tomatoes, cilantro, onion, lime juice)
  • Spinach salad topped with dried cranberries and nuts or strawberries and crumbled goat cheese
  • Pomegranate seeds served on top of a green salad
  • Red and green apple slices as a snack or dipped in a vanilla yogurt or a honey dip

Decorate your plate in red and green this holiday season and enjoy these fun recipes for more inspiration:

Cheers to a happy and healthy holiday!

For more ideas on healthy eating and how to handle the holidays without gaining weight, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators.

 

 

Step Up the Flavor of Fall Foods

Fall Healthy Eating

This time of year, there is an abundance of fall foods to enjoy that are as healthy as they are delicious. They even fall into fall colors – reds, oranges, golds and deep greens. As temperatures drop and we start to crave heartier foods, remember that fall and winter foods can be both hearty and healthy. When looking to step up the taste and nutrition of your fall and winter meals, go for color. Brighten your plate with colorful food options as these are often the foods with the most nutrients and vitamins.

Here’s a look at a variety of colored foods to enjoy this time of year and their benefits.

Reds Foods

Smart Options: pomegranate seeds, cranberries, tomato sauces, beets, red beans and lentils

These foods contain heart-healthy flavonoids, which are anti-oxidants and reduce inflammation, fighting heart disease and keeping artery walls healthy. They also contain vitamins A and C, which boost the immune system and promote healing and are good for eyes, skin, and hair.

Orange and Golden Foods

Smart Options: oranges, butternut squash, acorn squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, golden raisins

These foods contain vitamin C needed for good eye health, wound healing, strong bones and a stronger immune system.

Greens

Smart Options: broccoli, Brussel sprouts, green bell peppers, coleslaw and cabbage

These foods are rich in minerals, phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and vitamins, including vitamins A, B’s and C. These are important nutrients for overall health and well-being as well as disease prevention.

Spices of the season

Smart Options: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and cumin

These spices all have powerful anti-oxidant properties and fight inflammation in joints and arteries. Cinnamon also helps manage blood sugar levels. Add these enticing flavors to cooked apples, teas, beef sauces, poultry, salmon, sweet potatoes, and foods suggested below.

So get creative! Enjoy these foods and flavors in new inspiring ways. Some suggestions:

  • Pomegranate seeds sprinkled on salads and yogurt
  • Dried cranberries in oatmeal and salads
  • Roasted or pickled beets as snacks or in salads or as sides
  • Tomato sauces in stews or spaghetti or chili or soups
  • Red beans with rice or in chili, lentil soup or cold lentil salad
  • Butternut squash soup, mashed butternut squash or roasted butternut strips or rings
  • Baked, mashed or roasted sweet potatoes – a great option for both breakfast or a snack
  • Stuffed bell peppers or cabbage rolls
  • Coleslaw with diced apples, cranberries and walnuts
  • Cinnamon added to oatmeal, yogurt, stews, roasts, spaghetti sauce, butternut or acorn squash
  • Ginger added to stir-fries, broccoli, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, apples, salmon, chicken
  • Cumin added to stews, meat sauces, chili and beans

To inspire your fall and winter cooking, here are a few recipes to get you started.

Fall Recipes

Butternut Squash Soup by Georgia Kostas, MPH, RD, LD

Ingredients

Yields 6 servings

1 large butternut squash

½ large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots, sliced

1 pear or apple, peeled and sliced (1 cup)

1-2 teaspoons olive oil

4 cups (2- 15oz cans) chicken broth

½ cup orange juice

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ tsp cumin

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon all-spice

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

2 Tablespoons sherry or white wine

½ bunch cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Scrub butternut squash. With fork, poke several “vents” for steam to escape when cooking. Place in microwave, on paper towels. Cook on High for 10 minutes. Remove. Let sit 5 minutes, wrapped in a kitchen towel. Scoop out the flesh to add to the soup pot.
  2. While squash is cooking: sauté onion, garlic, carrots, pear in oil in a large soup pot for about 5 minutes, till softened.
  3. To soup pot, add broth and juice; heat to boil. Then add scooped butternut squash, wine, seasonings.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add cilantro. Blenderize to create a smooth creamy texture.

Stove-top Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Walnuts

Ingredients

1 lb Brussels sprouts, washed, outer leaves trimmed, cut in half

1 Tbsp olive oil

1-2 cups chicken broth

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup walnuts, sliced

2 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add and stir Brussels sprouts in oil 5 min; add broth a little at a time, as needed, to prevent sticking; cook till sprouts are tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add remaining three ingredients, stir, and cook 5 minutes more.

For more ideas on how to feel satisfied and not overeat, as well as how to enjoya healthy diet and succeed with weight loss, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

Falling for Apples

Apples

Fresh and cooked apples, apple butter and apple pie are favorites this time of year. The good news: apples are as healthy for you as they are delicious.

An apple a day does keep the doctor away. In fact, this everyday fruit is packed full of key nutrients, including fiber, potassium, folic acid, Vitamin C, flavonoids and disease-fighting antioxidants. Research shows that the phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like cancer1, hypertension2, diabetes3 and heart disease4. An apple peel ingredient slows down cancer cell growth while quercetin reduces blood pressure, increases blood flow and reduces inflammation and heart disease. As an added bonus, the quercetin in apples also has antihistamine properties that may help reduce allergy symptoms4. The slow-digesting pectin fiber in apples also helps with blood sugar control and the high boron content supports strong bones and a healthy brain5.

Apples are also a good source of vitamin C. In a medium-size apple you will find about 10 percent of the daily-recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital to our health. It helps repair collagen and tissue, maintains bone health and provides antioxidants to lower your risk of acquiring chronic diseases.

 With less than 100 calories and 4 grams of fiber in a medium-size apple, apples make a low-calorie, healthy, crunchy and portable snack. Apples can be incorporated into many recipes and used as a healthy baking substitute, too. This fall, here are some delicious ways to enjoy apples and eat an apple a day:

  • Add sliced apples to your oatmeal at breakfast time.
  • Use chopped apples to add color and crunch to salads, coleslaw, and tuna salad.
  • When baking desserts or holiday treats, swap in applesauce as a healthier baking alternative to oils, butter and eggs. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter or oil, swap in 1/2 cup of applesauce. For eggs, swap in 1/4 cup of applesauce per egg.
  • Enjoy honey-crisp apple slices topped with peanut butter.
  • Try replacing jam or jelly on a peanut butter sandwich with apple slices dipped in orange or lemon juice to prevent browning.
  • Pair cheese with apples for a healthy snack.
  • Cook apples in a little sugar or stevia and cinnamon for a sweet treat, side dish or oatmeal topping.
  • Use apple butter in place of jam on toast as it contains no butter, just cooked apples that soften and thicken like butter.
  • Zap an apple in the microwave with cinnamon and stevia in the cored out center, as a sweet dessert.
  • Have applesauce as a snack.
  • Add apple chunks to stews, roasts, chicken or turkey dishes, spaghetti or tomato sauces, to add flavor and a natural sweetener.
  • Puree a cooked apple and add to a soup to thicken it (e.g. butternut squash soup).

You can even let apples help you with weight control. To avoid overeating, try eating an apple before a large meal. It is filling, curbs your appetite and satisfies a sweet tooth. Crunching and chewing an apple even reduces your day’s stress level.

Enjoy an apple today, sweet or tart, and add to your health!

For more ideas on how to feel satisfied and not overeat, as well as how to enjoy a healthy diet and succeed with weight loss, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit: http://www.georgiakostas.com.

This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.

 1 Nutrition and Cancer. http://bit.ly/1uXsRr6

2 The Journal of Nutrition. http://bit.ly/1uUGAya

3 British Medical Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5001

4 British Medical Journal. http://bit.ly/1gFBONG

5 Journal of Investigational Allergology. http://1.usa.gov/1swOyaO

6 Environmental Health Perspectives. http://1.usa.gov/1tzLbPF

 

Foods that Can Help Lower Breast Cancer Risk 

Healthy Vegetables Fight Cancer

Many people are unaware of the important role nutrition plays in fighting off breast cancer and all chronic diseases. A growing body of research highlights diet’s role in not only lowering the risk of developing breast cancer, but warding off re-occurrence, too.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’m sharing my top picks for cancer-fighting foods. Take a look at the following list and aim to regularly consume a wide variety of these nutrient-dense foods.

Whole Grains – Whole grains are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and natural plant compounds that help fight cancer.1 Have three a day. Good sources of whole grains include:

  • Brown and wild rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole-wheat pasta and bread
  • Whole- wheat cereal flakes
  • Corn
  • Whole grain snacks including whole grain crackers, tortillas and bagels and popcorn. Yes, popcorn!

Fiber – Research has found that fiber helps reduce the risk of breast cancer by lowering the amount of estrogen in the body. In fact, a study reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those who consumed the most fiber had an 11 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who ate the least. Aim to consume 30 grams of fiber a day. Good sources for fiber include:

  • Vegetables like romaine lettuce, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower,  broccoli and sweet potatoes
  • Pinto beans, black beans, lentils and kidney beans
  • Brown rice, oatmeal, kashi cereals, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat bread and tortillas

Vitamin D – Studies have revealed a strong link between vitamin D and breast cancer.3 Women with breast cancer often have low levels of vitamin D and those with higher vitamin D levels have been found less likely to develop breast cancer. Good sources of vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fish including salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and canned tuna
  • Vitamin D-fortified milk, orange juice and cereals
  • Egg yolk
  • Fish oils
  • Omega-3 supplements fortified with extra vitamin D

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Research suggests omega-3s reduce inflammation which can encourage breast cancer cells to grow.4 Good sources include:

  • Chia seeds and ground flaxseed
  • Walnuts and walnut oil
  • Canola oil and soy oil
  • Edamames

Folate – Those with higher folate (a vitamin B) levels have been found to have more than a 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest folate levels.5  To reach a healthy level of folate, try to consume 400 micrograms of folate each day. Good sources include:

  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans, black beans
  • Leafy greens like spinach, kale and arugula
  • Fortified cereals , breads, rice, pasta

Don’t forget that it is your total lifestyle that counts the most – your entire eating pattern of lean meats, healthy oils, whole-grains, colorful beans, fruit, and  vegetables, and low-fat dairy – combined with a healthy weight and regular exercise ( 150 minutes a week), a healthy attitude about life, and relaxation or happy events you plan daily. A  handful of healthy food choices help but nothing compares to a healthy re-vamped TOTAL style of eating and living everyday!  What is good for your whole body helps prevent cancer and energizes your life.

Sources:

  1. Health Benefits with Whole Grains. Journal of Nutrition, May 2011;141(5):1011S-22S. Epub March 30, 2011
  2. Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011. bit.ly/qKtsU2
  3. Intake of fish and marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of breast cancer. BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f3706. 27 June 2013.
  4. Folate, vitamin B12 and postmenopausal breast cancer in a prospective study of French women. Cancer Causes Control. Nov 2006; 17(9): 1209–1213.

 

RECIPE: Grilled Salmon & Vegetable Packets

Recipe & Tips reprinted from Tufts Health & Nutrition Newsletter Jan 27, 2014

SALMON

Cooking fish and vegetables together in a foil packet on the grill is an excellent technique for healthy outdoor cooking. Because the food is cooked by the steam, which develops in the packet, you don’t have to be concerned about potentially harmful carcinogens and Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs; see March, 2010 issue of the Tufts Health & Nutrition Newsletter) that form when food is charred on a grill. What’s more, this cooking method delivers lots of flavor with a minimum of fat, and cleanup is a breeze. It is also a great way to incorporate colorful vegetables into your entrée. In this recipe, a savory Asian glaze enhances richly-flavored salmon. Round out this simple meal with brown rice or quinoa.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sliced (1/2 inch-wide ribbons) napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 3 tsp minced fresh ginger (divided)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (divided)
  • 2 1/2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinager
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 8 ounces salmon fillets or archic char, skin removed (see Tip), cut into 2 portions
  • 1 tbsp chopped scallion whites

Instructions:

  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Cut two 12 x 16-inch sheets of aluminum foil. Fold each one in half to form a 12 x 8-inch rectangle.
  • Combine napa, bell pepper, 1 tsp ginger, ½ tsp garlic, 1 tsp soy sauce, and sesame oil in large bowl; toss to coat.
  • Mix hoisin sauce, vinegar, crushed red pepper, remaining 2 tsp ginger, remaining ½ tsp garlic, and remaining 1 ½ tsp soy sauce in small bowl.
  • Open a foil rectangle. Spray half of the rectangle with cooking spray. Place half of the vegetable mixture on sprayed side of rectangle. Top with a piece of fish. Spread half of the hoisin sauce mixture over fish. Sprinkle with half of the scallions. Fold the other half of the foil rectangle over to enclose contents. Seal packet. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 1 more packet.
  • If using a gas grill, turn off one of the burners. If using a charcoal grill, push hot coals to one side of the grill. Place packets on unheated portion of grill. Cover grill and cook packets over indirect heat for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fish, or until packets are puffed and fish just begins to flake. (When you open a packet to check for doneness, be careful of steam.) To serve, use a wide spatula to transfer contents of each packet to a plate. Spoon vegetables around fish and pour any accumulated juices over fish.

Yield: 2 servings.

  • Per serving (with wild Coho salmon): Calories: 262. Total fat: 10 grams. Saturated fat: 2 grams. Cholesterol: 57 milligrams. Sodium: 449 milligrams. Carbohydrates: 12 grams: Fiber: 3 grams. Protein: 30 grams.
  • Per serving (with Atlantic farmed salmon): Calories: 284. Total fat: 15 grams. Saturated fat: 3 grams. Cholesterol: 63 milligrams. Sodium: 457 milligrams. Carbohydrates: 12 grams: Fiber: 3 grams. Protein: 25 grams.
  • Tip: You can ask the fish counter to remove the fish skin for you. But it is easy to trim the skin yourself. Place salmon fillet, skin-side down, on cutting board. Use paper towel to grasp the edge of salmon skin with your free hand. Holding a chef’s knife at a 45º angle towards skin, ease knife forward to separate skin from flesh. 
  • Tip: If the weather is not suited to outdoor cooking, you can cook the packets (use foil or parchment paper) in a 400ºF-oven for 15 to 17 minutes.
  • Shopping for Salmon: Seafood Watch at the Monterey Bay Aquarium lists wild-caught Alaskan salmon as a “Best Choice” because of the clean waters in its habitat and carefully managed fishery practices. Most farmed Atlantic salmon, on the other-hand, falls into the “Avoid” category because of high levels of PCBs, and the farms’ harmful effect on the environment and wild salmon population. If using farmed salmon, be sure to trim skin and fatty portions because that is where the contaminants collect. For more information on sustainable seafood, check out web sites, such as (montereybayaquarium.org) and www.nrdc.org(Natural Resource Defense Council