Evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that elevated cholesterol and triglycerides increase cardiovascular disease. It is currently recommended that total blood cholesterol be less than 200 mg/dl and triglycerides be lower than 150 mg/dl.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood and are measured in the same routine blood tests used to determine your cholesterol levels. If you haven't been paying attention to your triglycerides, you might want to take a second look. Although we have been primarily concerned with cholesterol, high triglyceride levels are a red flag as well. They indicate an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. The primary purpose of triglycerides is fat storage. Calories you do not burn are converted to triglycerides and stored to be released later by hormones to use as energy. That belly fat is tied in here.
While there are drugs on the market to manage high triglycerides, simple diet and lifestyle choices are very effective for lowering those numbers and those changes work to lower cholesterol as well.
Our old friend, The Mediterranean Diet's familiar regimens prove important again. While regular exercise and limiting alcohol consumption is recommended, diet changes are the primary and very effective solutions. The reduction or elimination of sugar and refined carbohydrates can lower both high cholesterol and high triglycerides. Consuming whole grains instead of highly refined white flour is a simple but important change. Our bodies process white flour in almost exactly the same way as sugar. Limiting calories from carbs, in general, can help as well as lower overall calorie intake.
Switching from saturated fats to heart-healthy ones like olive oil as well as consuming more Omega-3 rich foods is a great step in the right direction. Grill or poach some tuna, drizzle it with McEvoy Lemon Olive Oil and sprinkle with some fresh spring herbs.
Health professionals recommend that we expand our choices to more fatty fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as anchovies, mackerel, and sardines. Here is a Springtime recipe that features Ahi tuna with those good vegetables, complex carbs, and a delicious olive oil-based sauce.
Farro and Spring Vegetable Salad with Seared Ahi Tuna and Black Olive Tapenade
This is a lively dish, full of color and texture. The Black Olive Tapenade with orange zest and tarragon enhances this dish bringing all the delightful flavors together. Enjoy with a glass of McEvoy Ranch Pinot Noir.Tapenade Ingredients
1 7oz jar McEvoy Ranch Black Olive Tapenade
1 shallot, finely minced and macerated 1 hour in 1 tablespoon McEvoy Ranch Aged Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbs. McEvoy Ranch Lemon Olive Oil
1 Tbs. orange zest, freshly grated
1 Tbs. fresh tarragon, finely chopped
Mix Black Olive Tapenade with shallot and balsamic vinegar, orange zest, tarragon, and Lemon Olive Oil. Let sit for an hour for flavors to blend. Can be made a day ahead.
1 cup farro
1 cup broccoli Romanesco florets, blanched and dried
1 cup sugar snap peas, blanched and dried
½ bunch scallions, thinly sliced
2 heads Little Gem lettuce or romaine hearts, thinly sliced into rounds
4 ounces of mushrooms (enoki, straw or clamshell), tossed with salt, pepper and ½ tablespoon olive oil), roasted 3 minutes in 350F oven
4 tablespoons McEvoy Ranch Lemon Olive Oil or McEvoy Traditional Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
2 tablespoons McEvoy Pinot Noir Vinegar
12 - 14 ounces Ahi tuna filet
Freshly ground black pepper
Boil a large pot of salted water. Add farro and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until farro is just al dente.
Drain farro and toss with Lemon Olive Oil, Pinot Noir Vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Add broccoli Romanesco, sugar snap peas, scallions, lettuce, and mushrooms. Toss again, taste, and adjust for salt and pepper.
Salt and pepper tuna steak and lightly coat with olive oil.
Heat a cast iron pan on a medium high flame. When pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles immediately, add tuna and sear for 1 minute, then turn and sear on the other side for 1 minute.
Remove tuna from pan and let rest for one minute. Slice into twelve slices.
Divide farro salad onto four plates, top with tuna and Black Olive Tapenade.
Note: The lace-patterned cream plate featured in this recipe belonged to Nan McEvoy. She hosted weekly staff lunches at the Ranch where conversation and fresh ideas were shared. She loved this pattern in particular because of its texture. The sound of scraping the dish as guests devoured the last delicious bites brought wonderful levity to the meal. We hope this recipe and our “noisy plate” story bring you much pleasure as well.