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February 15, 2012 at 8:00 AMComments: 5 Faves: 0

7 Ingredients That Will Help You Live Longer!

By Jessica Corwin MPH RDN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Dietitian's Dish Blog Series

I think we're all pretty familiar with the foods and ingredients we should NOT eat when it comes to promoting a healthy heart (saturated fat, trans fat, sodium…), but what about the foods you SHOULD be eating (nutrient rich, healthy unsaturated fats, herbs, spices)?

If you’re anything like me, I’m guessing you prefer dietary advice in the form of the latter mindset – focusing on healthy foods that we should eat more of.

This simple dish includes 7 of those heart-healthy choices. Read on to find out why you should be eating more of them:

#1. Olive Oil

Olive oil is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which can help to lower your total cholesterol level.

#2. Garlic

Several studies have found that garlic may help to reduce our ‘lousy’ LDL cholesterol and blood fats (triglycerides), both of which can increase our risk for heart disease. In doing so, garlic may actually thin your blood so please talk to your physician if you are on blood thinners and consuming large amounts of garlic.

#3. Spinach

A well-respected ‘superfood’ that comes packed with vitamin K, beta carotene (aka. Vitamin A), folate, vitamin C, and iron. Research shows that dark leafy greens may help to lower our risk of multiple diseases, including certain cancers. The anti-inflammatory properties are also known to be a benefit for heart health.

#4. Tomatoes

These beautiful red fruits are rich in lycopene, a nutrient linked with reducing our risk of heart disease. What’s even better, is that the canned version of tomatoes may actually help us to absorb the lycopene even more-so than fresh! Making this recipe quite fitting.

#5. Beans

Beans are packed with fiber which can help to lower our cholesterol levels and help us to feel full faster than a low-fiber meal. What’s more is that beans are a delicious meat-replacement, enabling us to cut out the saturated fat while still getting a protein-rich food.

#6. Whole Grain Pasta

Swapping out white pasta for whole grain is an easy way to boost the fiber and nutrients of your meal, helping to improve your blood pressure and stabilize blood sugar! There are plenty of versions available at the supermarket, you simply need to find the one that works for you and your family.

#7. Herbs and Spices

These flavorful additions are a great way to add flavor without increasing the sodium levels. Ultimately the goal is to minimize the use of salt, by experimenting with the vast variety of herbs and spices – many of which come loaded with antioxidants!


Delightfully Italian Pasta

These delicious ingredients come together to create a mouth-watering and eye-pleasing dish, one that your whole family can enjoy – even on the busiest of days!

Ingredients (Yields: 4 Servings):

  • 8 ounces whole grain rotini pasta
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans low-sodium diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasonings OR Mrs. Dash OR garlic and herb seasoning
  • 1 (15 ounce) cans no-salt-added cannellini beans (or any white beans) (Or 2 cups prepared dry beans)
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed well (or 2 (13.5 ounce) cans no-salt-added chopped spinach or 16 ounce fresh spinach)
  • Season with black pepper
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese


  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions:
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Once warm, add olive oil and garlic.
  3. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasonings and beans. Allow to simmer and heat through.
  4. Add spinach and allow to heat through (if fresh, once it begins to wilt into the dish it is ready).
  5. Serve 1 cup pasta with 1.5 cups spinach mixture.
  6. Top with parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

  • Calories 400
  • Fat 4g
  • Sat Fat 1g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Sodium 300mg
  • Total Carbs 78g
  • Fiber 21g
  • Protein 23g
  • Calcium 357 mg
  • Vitamin A 17,500 IU

Any other ideas?

What would you make with these 7 ingredients?

Photo Credit:

youngdoo,-christing-O-, robbplusjessie, rachelandrew, (MOTH) /O, CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture's, suzettesuzette

More from Health Coach Jessica Corwin MPH RDN Others Are Reading


  • Jessica - love this blog and I'm proud to say I have nearly ALL the ingredients you mentioned in my lunch today! The only things I'm missing are the tomatoes and pasta. BUT I've got peppers and whole grain rice in their stead. :)

  • Sounds like we have some well-prepared chefs on our hands! Good luck with the recipe! Let me know how it turns out :)

  • great post :D Thanks!

  • I eat many of these as well.. I was thinking a salad with a garlic herb vinaigrette, or create a pesto with the garlic, spinach and Basil then put it over whole wheat pasta with cherry tomatoes and white beans.. Maybe a little Parmesan cheese too.. I however am not a cook so you will have to figure out how to make them yourself.. If you do let me know how you did it!

  • Julie, that sounds absolutely delicious! I am certain that you cold whip that up, just toss the garlic, spinach, basil, and olive oil into the food processor and whip it up until smooth. That would be very tasty atop whole grain pasta :)

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