Nutrition for a Happy, Healthy Heart

Logo for Mountaintop Medicine with mountains and trees illustration, featuring the text

Welcome back to another edition of Nutrition Notes! In honor of the season of love quickly approaching this February, I want to discuss our heart, and more specifically, how nutrition plays a crucial role in heart health.

When we consume a poor diet, it can have negative effects on our heart health. A diet high in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars can lead to the development of various risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels, obesity, and insulin resistance. Over time, these conditions can contribute to the formation of plaque in the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis and an increased risk for heart disease.

Leah Gardner, EPH Registered Dietitian

It is important to prioritize a balanced diet with plenty of whole foods to support a happy and healthy heart. Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These foods provide our bodies with essential nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. Making these dietary changes can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight, which are all key factors for a healthy heart and lower your risk of developing heart disease.

Heart Healthy Recipe: Mediterranean-Style Grilled Chicken Salad

This recipe is packed with fresh veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats.


· 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

· 4 cups mixed salad greens

· 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

· 1 cucumber, sliced

· ¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

· ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

· 1 tbsp lemon juice

· Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat your grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.

2. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Grill them for about 6-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Let them rest for a few minutes, then slice into strips.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.

4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

5. Divide the salad onto plates and top with grilled chicken strips. Enjoy!

A quick reminder- I offer outpatient nutrition counseling and education services at Estes Park Health. If you are interested, contact your healthcare provider for a referral. If you have any questions or if there are any nutrition-related topics that you would like me to discuss here on Nutrition Notes, please reach out at