(Family Features) No matter your motivations, it’s never too late or too early to start focusing on your heart health, and taking steps now can make a big difference. Small changes, like following a healthier eating plan, can help you start down a path toward improved heart health.
One step you can take is following the DASH eating plan, which is a flexible and balanced way of eating that stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and was developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Requiring no special foods, DASH provides daily and weekly nutritional goals to help lower two major risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure and high LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Being more physically active, managing stress, getting quality sleep and not smoking combined with DASH can put you on a path toward a healthy heart for life.
Encouraging others to join you on your heart-health journey can also be rewarding. Research shows social support and personal networks make it more likely you’ll stick to healthy habits like eating healthy.
Learn more about heart health and find DASH-friendly recipes at nhlbi.nih.gov/DASH.
Baked Pork Chops with Apple Cranberry Sauce
Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
4 boneless pork chops (about 3 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium orange, rinsed and zested
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium apple, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup 100% orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 F.
To prepare pork chops: Season pork chops with pepper and orange zest.
In large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pork chops and cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn and brown 2 minutes. Remove pork chops from pan, place on nonstick baking sheet and bake 10 minutes to minimum internal temperature of 160 F.
To make sauce: Add chicken broth to saute pan and stir to loosen brown bits from pork chops. Set aside.
In small saucepan over medium heat, cook grated apples, cinnamon stick and bay leaf until apples begin to soften.
Add cranberries, orange juice and reserved broth. Bring to boil then lower heat to gentle simmer. Simmer 10 minutes, or until cranberries are plump and apples are tender. Remove cinnamon stick.
Peel orange and cut into eight sections.
Serve one pork chop with 1/4 cup sauce and two orange segments.
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute