Cardiovascular Disease


Scrambled Egg Muffins

Scrambled Egg Muffins

6 Eggs
2-3 Tbs. Onions, diced
90g Mozzarella Cheese, grated
1 1/2 Cups Mixed Raw Vegetables (Spinach, Mushrooms, Peppers, Tomatoes etc)
2 Medium Potatoes (300g), with skin
Handful of fresh Parsley
Himalayan Salt & Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray (the better you spray, the less it will stick!) or use liners. Boil potatoes in skin until soft. Chop into small cubes/chunks. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add in remaining ingredients, including potatoes, and mix together. Fill muffin tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the centre of the muffin is completely cooked and is slightly browned in colour

Serves: 6

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: 393.7kJ Energy; 4.4g Protein; 3.5g Fat; 9.8g Carbphydrate; 1.4g Fibre; 369mg Sodium

Parsley Smashed Potatoes

Parsley Smashed Potatoes

3 Large Potatoes
1/2 cup Low Fat Milk or Buttermilk
Handful of Fresh Parsley or 2 tsp. dried Parsley
Pinch of Salt & Ground Black Pepper

Put the whole unpeeled pottoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Cover and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced (25 to 30 minutes). Cut the potatoes into chunks and add fresh chopped parsley or dried parsley together with 1/2 cup buttermilk or low fat milk. Using a potato masher, mash until mostly smooth and sprinkle with seasoning.

Serves: 6 as a side dish

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: 325.7kJ Energy; 2g Protein; 1.4g Fat; 14.3g Carbohydrate; 1.4g Fibre; 348 mg Sodium

Vegetable & Lentil Cottage Pie

Vegetable & Lentil Cottage Pie

1 Medium Red Pepper
2 Large Baby Marrows
1 Small Onion
1 Punnet Mushrooms
1 tbs. Olive Oil
1 Tin Lentils
500ml Vegetable Stock

100g Frozen Peas
Himalayan Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
200ml Tomato Puree
30g Mozzarella Cheese
2 Medium Potatoes (180g)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Heat 1 Tbs. Olive Oil in a medium pan on a medium heat, add the sliced red pepper, diced baby marrow, onion and mushroom. Pop the lid on and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until softened. Add the lentils, stock and peas, then bring to the boil, stirring regularly. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, then add the tomato purée. Scrub the potato clean, then coarsely grate it into a bowl, toss with Mozzarella. Transfer the filling to a 15cm x 20cm ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the potato & cheese mix. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potato topping is golden and cooked through and the filling is piping hot.

Serves: 6

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: 635.7kJ Energy; 5.7g Protein; 3.5g Fat; 18g Carbohydrate; 6g Fibre; 349mg Sodium

Leek and Potato Soup

Leek and Potato Soup

2 Medium Carrots
2 Large Celery sticks
2 Medium Onions
400g Leeks
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Large Potatoes (400g), with skin
1 tbs. Olive Oil

1 Chicken Stock Cube with 1.8l Water
Himalayan Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Wash the carrots and leeks thoroughly before roughly dicing. Finely slice the celery, garlic and onions. Place a large pan on a high heat and add Olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened, but are still holding their shape, and the onion and leeks are lightly golden. Put the stock cubes into a jug or pan and pour in 1.8 litres of boiling water from the kettle. Stir until the stock cubes are dissolved, and then add to the vegetables. Wash and dice potatoes and add them to the pan. Give the soup a good stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Remove the pan from the heat. Season and serve. If a smooth texture is preferred, blitz using a hand blender or liquidizer.

Serves: 6

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: 555.7kJ Energy; 2.5g Protein; 2.3g Fat; 22.1g Carbohydrate; 3.2g Fibre; 456.2mg Sodium

Juicy Baked Meatballs with Peri-Peri Wedges

Juicy Baked Meatballs with Peri-Peri Wedges

1 Medium Onion, chopped
2-3 Cloves Garlic, diced
500g Lean Mince
1/2 Cup Rye Breadcrumbs
2 tbs. chopped Fresh Parsley
1 Egg, beaten
1 Tin Cherry Tomatoes

1 Bunch Fresh Basil, chopped
1 Cup Beef Stock
2 tbs. Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Mix the mince, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley & beaten eggs together in a large bowl. Roll the mince into golf-ball sizes, & place into a casserole dish. Mix together the beef stock, tin of cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves & pepper & pour over the meatballs. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Serves: 4

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: 1009.5kJ Energy; 22.7g Protein; 8.5g Fat; 16.2g Carbohydrate; 2.1g Fibre; 509mg Sodium

Peri-Peri Wedges

Peri-Peri Wedges

2 Medium Potatoes (360g), with skin
2 tbs. Olive Oil
Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Mixed Herbs
1 Whole Chilli, de-seeded

Wash potatoes and cut each into 4-5 wedged chunks. In a bowl, mix potatoes, olive oil spices and chilli using your hands until each wedge is well coated. Scatter on a baking tray and bake at 180°C for 25-35 minutes until the potatoes are golden and crispy.

Serves: 4

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: 514.5kJ Energy; 1.4g Protein; 6.1g Fat; 14.3g Carbohydrate; 1.4g Fibre; 124mg Sodium


Key Nutrition Factors in the management of Cardiovascular Disease.

Cardiovascular disease is a group of conditions that include heart disease, damage to blood vessels, high blood pressure and heart failure. Heart disease is now the leading cause of death worldwide, and particularly frightening, is that more and more youngsters are being diagnosed. Nutrition and its impact in in reducing the risk to develop heart disease tops the list as one of the most important “modifiable risk factors”. In essence evidence indicates that changes to your everyday eating patterns can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. Some might say that healthy eating proves to be more than just a change of heart!

At Potato SA we often get asked “Can I include potatoes in my diet if I have high cholesterol or high blood pressure?” Both of these conditions contribute to heart health. In this article, we share the top ten nutrition tips to topple cardiovascular disease and improve overall heart health.

1. Weight Management

A huge amount of evidence shows that carrying excess body weight increases risk of cardiovascular disease. Fat that is stored around the tummy area can significantly increase incidence of disease. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2016) weight loss of 5-10% of body weight in 6 months can improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure and even reduces the need for medication to control cardiovascular disease. Weight-loss is a win-win! Also, bulling up meals with foods that are more filling such as vegetables or potatoes can help you feel fuller for longer and therefore help with weight loss.

2. Big Fat Truths

The saturated fat debate is alive and well with many conflicting message in the media. Strong evidence shows that reducing saturated fat intake has a beneficial effect on the lipid profile. However, recently it was found that high levels of saturated fats in the diet didn’t cause an increased risk for CVD despite its effects on cholesterol. So now what? The take-home message is rather to consider what the saturated fat is replaced with in the diet, when it is removed. If saturated fats (butter, dairy fat, coconut oil and fat on meat) are replaced with mono-unsaturated fats (avo, nuts, olive oil and olives) and poly-unsaturated fats (seeds and vegetable oils) it is clear that cardiovascular disease risk decreases.

3. Quality Carbs

Following on from above, replacing saturated fats in the diet with poor quality carbohydrates increases CVD; heart attacks specifically. Poor quality carbohydrates are refined sugars and high Glycaemic-Index (GI) options such as cool drinks, sweets, chocolates, ice-cream, baked goods & take-aways. Not all carbs are equal when it comes to cardiovascular disease and health. High fibre, whole grain carbohydrates, fresh fruit and vegetable are all considered to be good quality carbs. Peeled potatoes served as mash or deep fried chips are poor quality carb choices and should be limited in the diet. However, boiled or baked potatoes with their skin intact, eaten in portion controlled amounts can be included as part of a heart healthy diet.

4. Mediterranean Magic

Dietary patterns have shown to be a powerful tool in the fight against cardiovascular disease. The Mediterranean dietary pattern is a sure-fire winner for reducing cardiovascular disease risk. The traditional Mediterranean diet is characterised by a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, legumes and whole-grains; a moderate intake of fish and poultry; and wine in moderation, consumed with meals. Lower intakes of sweets, sugar, processed meats, red meat and dairy are common in a Mediterranean eating pattern. Better adherence to these patterns of eating, have been consistently beneficial to lower cardiovascular disease risk.

5. Full-on Fibre

Soluble dietary fibre slows down transit of food through the gut and binds gut cholesterol, which is then excreted. This helps to lower total cholesterol and guess what? It is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease! Important sources of soluble fibre foods include: apples, potato flesh, papaya, oats and psyllium husk. Soluble fibre also adds bulk and delays emptying of food from the stomach. This keeps you full for longer and may assist with weight control.

6. Stop the Salt

Let’s start with the scary stats: globally, approximately 1.65 million annual cardiovascular disease deaths were attributable to sodium intake of more than 2g per day. High sodium intakes increase water retention which in turn, increases the volume of blood which skyrockets blood pressure. High blood pressure increases cardiovascular disease risk – it really is a vicious cycle. Many South Africans eat too much salt and according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa, we eat twice the amount of salt we should – about 6-11 g per day. It is advised that adults consume less than 2400 mg of sodium per day (or less than 5g of salt). Aim to lower salt intake in the diet by reducing the intake of processed foods and use lemon, garlic, ginger, herbs and curry spices to flavour food. Read more at

7. Potassium Power

The lesser known trace-mineral potassium also has an effect on blood pressure. Unlike its sodium counterpart, higher dietary intakes of potassium are associated with lowering blood pressure. In addition the risk of stroke events is almost 40% lower in study groups where individuals have high levels of potassium intake compared with groups of individuals who have low intakes of potassium. A single cooked jacket potato (150g) provides 710 mg of potassium, and when compared to other high potassium containing fruit and vegetables such as banana, tomato and spinach, the potassium content of the potato exceeds them all. Remember to keep the potato skin on to optimise potassium values.

8. Phabulous Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are bioactive compounds in food that promote health. Phyto which means plant explains why these powerful compounds are found in plant-based foods. Polyphenols are a group of phytonutrients which are thought to have a preventative effect on the development of cardiovascular disease. Resveratrol, quercetin and curcumin are all polyphenols with resveratrol being shown to have a notably beneficial effect against most cardiovascular diseases. Resveratrol can be found in purple/blue coloured foods such as purple grapes, blueberries, cranberries, cocoa and red wine.

9. Keep it Fresh

High intake of fresh fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Why you may ask? Well, in their wholefood, natural state, the bounteous beauties are good sources of potassium, fibre and anti-oxidants. The recommendations from the South African Food Based Dietary Guidelines are “Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables every day” while the WHO recommends 400g of fruit and vegetables per day (5 servings of 80g each). The American Heart Association echoes the above and encourages “Eat an overall healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes a variety of fruits and vegetables”.

10. Omega-3 from the Sea!

Last but not least, research shows that omega-3 fatty acids decrease triglycerides which are a type of fat in the blood. Omega-3 fatty acids also protect against cell damage which helps to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and pilchards) have the highest amount of EPA and DHA which are the active compounds that are formed from the metabolism of omega-3 fatty acids in the body. It is the EPA and DHA that have been shown to be most beneficial for cardiovascular disease prevention. The goal therefore, is to eat 270 g of omega-3 rich fish per week or 3 servings of 90 g fatty fish weekly.


  • Reach a healthy weight.
  • Give preferences to mono-unsaturated fats in the diet such as avo, olives, nuts, olive oil and nut butters.
  • Choose better carbs such as fresh fruit, vegetables and high fibre, wholegrain options and limit the intake of refined carbs and foods with added sugar.
  • Make Mediterranean meals a regular part of the diet – including legumes and the odd glass of red wine with dinner.
  • Boost soluble fibre intake by eating oats, apple, potato flesh and papaya regularly.
  • Slow down on salt! Reduce the amount added during cooking and at meals and minimise processed foods in the diet.
  • Power up on potassium rich foods such as spinach, tomato, banana and the potassium hero: potato with skin.
  • Eat the colour of the rainbow through the intake of a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Eat fresh, whole foods your grandmother would recognize.
  • Include a meal of fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, pilchards or sardines at least 3 times per week.


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