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Monthly Archives: December 2007

Heart Healthy Spicy Lamb Jalfrezi Curry Recipe

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Curry with a difference – it’s packed with superfoods AND extremely low in fat 

Serves 4 people – Time required – approximately 2 hours

Heart healthy food doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Spice up your life and your taste buds with this extremely nutritious and heart health friendly exotic South Asian dish, tailored for maximum health giving and immune system boosting properties! 

This is an ‘authentic’ South Asian Curry dish with a difference. It is totally unique – you will not find it quite like this anywhere else!

Indian food is now the favourite food of the British. It has even outstripped the famous British Fish and Chips in popularity!

In fact, there are more people working in the Asian Restaurant business in England than in the entire UK defence industry. Not bad going for a food that was scarcely known to most of our parents generation.

The problem with many Asian dishes is that the fat content can be fairly high, and as most of this is based on ‘Ghee’ – or clarified butter, it tends to be fairly high in saturated fat. Bad news for heart health minded folks who have become addicted, like many millions have, to a good hot spicy curry.

This is a great shame because many curry recipes are full of otherwise nutritious foods which are heart health friendly – Onions, Garlic, Chili Peppers, Ginger, Capsicums, Tomatoes and Herbs.

So, here at ‘Lower Blood Pressure’ our mission was to find a curry recipe which would be as near authentic as possible to the restaurant curry, whilst containing only a fraction of the saturated fat. No mean feat, but after many months of experimenting and sampling our own efforts, we believe we have found the answer, and present it here for your enjoyment – whilst of course looking after your heart. The ONLY source of fat in this recipe comes from nutritious Olive Oil, plus the natural fat content of the lamb – most of which is trimmed during the preparation.


The complete ingredient list is detailed below, and you can identify most ingredients from the photograph below (chef’s tip – for best flavour, the meat can be prepared and marinated in the refrigerator for 24 hours, in garlic and lemon juice for extra flavour):



  1. 1 pound of lean lamb steaks (or beef or chicken if you prefer) – cubed into 1/2 inch blocks
  2. 3 -4 red onions (white onions are also OK) – coarsely chopped
  3. 6 Large fresh Tomatoes – coarsely chopped
  4. 3 medium sized capsicums (also known as sweet peppers) – coarsely chopped
  5. 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  6. 30 grams of fresh root ginger – finely chopped
  7. 1 Red and 1 Green Chili Pepper (or more if you prefer your curry hotter) – finely chopped
  8. 1 bulb or 10 cloves of fresh Garlic
  9. 1 400 gram can of chopped tomatoes with Herbs
  10. 2 Teaspoons of ground Turmeric
  11. 2 Teaspoons of Paprika or Cayenne Pepper
  12. 1 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper
  13. 1 cinnamon stick (approx 2 inches in length) – finely grated
  14. 5 Whole green Cardamom pods (outer husk removed)
  15. 4 Whole cloves
  16. 1 Teaspoon of Mustard Seeds
  17. 1 Teaspoon of Coriander Seeds
  18. 1 Teaspoon og Ground Cumin or Cumin Seeds
  19. 1 Teaspoon of Fennel Seed
  20. 2 Teaspoons of Garam Masala Powder
  21. Basmati and Wild Rice
  22. Fresh living Coriander


Time required – Approx 30 minutes 

Preparation is the key to success. If you prepare well, cooking’s a breeze. If you don’t, you’ll have loads of grief. The main preparation for this dish involves removing the excess fat from the lamb steaks, and cutting it into 1/2 inch cubes, and coarsely chopping most of the fresh ingredients. Plus the spices need to be ground up using a pestle and mortar. That’s about it. It is very helpful to put the ingredients into separate bowls near the stove, as things move pretty fast when you start cooking, although there are some breaks when you can grab a beer or a glass of wine!


Time required – Approx 1 hour

This dish is best cooked in a Wok, but if you don’t have one – a large frying pan will do instead.

If you follow the instructions below very carefully you will get a delicious tasting curry that will have you hooked in no time at all.

  1. Place the Olive Oil in the Wok and heat until very hot (Max heat on stove)
  2. Toss in the chopped Garlic and Ginger and stir fast for 2 minutes
  3. Add the chopped onions and stir well for 2 more minutes
  4. Throw in the cubed lamb and continue stirring fast for another 3 minutes or until the lamb is slightly browned. Do not allow the lamb to stick or burn
  5. Add 1 Teaspoon each of the the ground Turmeric and Paprika and stir well into the mixture in the Wok for another minute till everything is well coated
  6. Add the chopped Capsicums and stir for another 2 minutes
  7. Add the chopped fresh tomatoes and keep stirring everything round for another 3 minutes
  8. Back off the heat to about half throttle and add the can of tomatoes stirring well for a couple of minutes
  9. Now add all the ground up spices, and the finely chopped chili peppers in one go and stir them in well
  10. Back off the heat till the mixture is slowly bubbling away, and grab yourself a well earned drink
  11. Stir the mixture every 5 minutes or so, until after about 45 minutes the meat should be nice and tender
  12. You may have to add a cup of water every so often as the curry sauce cooks to keep it from becoming too sticky
  13. Now it’s time to boil the rice – following the instructions on the pack for whatever variety of rice you chose

Serving Up Time

When you’re ready to serve, drain the rice into a sieve and and pour boiling water over it, This will remove the excess starch and make it nice and fluffy.

Heat the plates in the oven, and then arrange the rice around the outer edge of the plate in a ring.

Now take the curry off of the stove and spoon it into the middle of the rice, as per the photo at the top of the page.

Finally, sprinkle the top with chopped fresh living Coriander and that’s it – you’re good to go.

If you want to add some extra trimmings you can add some Naan Bread, lime pickle and some Poppadoms.

Love it or hate it?

Have you any comments? We would really appreciate your feedback about this recipe. Did you find it easy to make? Did you enjoy the flavour? Did you find it too strong? Not spicy enough? please let us know. You can comment using the comments form below or send us your comments to:

Thank You – and good heart health. 

Heart Disease risk from Dietary Fat

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The hectic pace of modern life often dictates the type of food that we consume. And with the wealth of information about healthy eating bombarding us every day from all directions, most of us probably feel pretty guilty about the seemingly impossible trade-off between getting through our daily schedule, and eating a healthy balanced diet.

The importance of a good diet cannot be overstated. If managed well, our diets can help to reduce the risk of our developing heart disease. For patients already suffering from coronary heart disease, eating a good diet can also help protect and guard against more serious heart problems, such as hypertension, heart attack and stroke. 

How eating healthily can help protect your heart

Although it may take a little more time, effort and expense, the up-side of eating a healthy diet can bring enormous benefits to our overall well being, including:

  • lower body weight
  • lower blood cholesterol level
  • lower blood pressure
  • lower risk of Atherosclerosis (build up of fatty deposits in the arteries)
  • lower risk of blood clots
  • lower risk of hypertension
  • lower risk of heart attack and stroke

So, regularly consuming a well balanced diet can help you improve your overall health and can help protect against other life threatening conditions such as some types of cancer and diabetes. 

What exactly is a healthy diet? 

A healthy diet contains plenty of fruit and vegetables and starchy foods such as wholegrain bread, pasta and rice; and is low in fat (especially saturated fat), salt and sugar.

The problem is, it is difficult to adhere to a healthy diet if your lifestyle results in having little available time to shop and cook wholesome home made meals made with fresh natural ingredients. The problem is made worse if your lifestyle is continuously mobile, as the choice of healthy eating on the go, especially from fast food outlets is even more restricted.

The problem with fat 

Too much fat in your diet particularly saturated fat, can increase your blood cholesterol levels which can increase your risk of developing coronary heart disease.   To help reduce your cholesterol level you should cut down on the total amount of fat you eat and replace saturated fats with monounsaturates and polyunsaturates and cut down on foods containing trans fats. 

The hidden risks of dietary fat intake

This is a simple study where we compare the actual amounts of dietary fat which is consumed by two imaginary people – one who does not consider the health implications of what they’re eating, and one who is health conscious and takes care about what they are eating and it’s implications for their long-term health.

The table below shows two different food types for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The comparison is between the normal diet and the healthy option.

Keep in mind that the UK daily recommended intake of dietary fat is 95 grams for men and 70 grams for women.

It can be seen that the healthy option weighs in at a healthy 65 grams of fat allowing a ‘bonus’ of up to 30 grams for the odd cookie or candy bar! 

Now take a look at the ‘normal’ diet based on classic popular meals. This shows that without even realising it we can way exceed the healthy daily limits just by consuming one or more meals of our everyday regular favourite foods. In the extreme example our imaginary person has consumed over 2 days worth of fat in just one day, with  216 grams!

This shocking example is being played out every day by millions of men and women in the United Kingdom, United States and most other Westernised countries.

Normal Diet




Healthy Option






Fat (g)




Fat (g)




Scrambled eggs (3 eggs)












Bacon (4 slices)












Sausage Links (4)












Hash Brown







Breakfast Totals














Quarter Pound Hamburger with Cheese


















Potato Chips






Chocolate Triple Thick Shake












Lunch Totals














Pizza (half stuffed crust 14 inch pepperoni)






Healthy Pizza

























Dinner Totals










Daily Total grams of Fat










Chest Pain – is it heart related?

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Chest Pain – is it heart-related?

Chest pain is a source of extreme concern for any middle aged or older person who is unfortunate enough to suffer from it. This short article attempts to explain in simple terms, the various different types of commonly encountered chest pain, and their possible diagnoses. It is intended for informational and educational purposes only. The reader should keep in mind that any type of chest pain could indicate a serious medical condition, and it is essential to immediately seek qualified medical attention if you suffer an onset of chest pain. The questions which are uppermost in the mind of the sufferer is ‘is this pain in my chest related to a serious heart condition?’ or worse still ‘am I about to suffer a massive heart attack?’ This is understandable as this distressing condition can indicate a potentially life threatening underlying condition which has a well deserved reputation for causing panic, as one of the first signs of the onset of a genuine heart attack. However, chest pain has many causes that produce differing types of symptoms, and so the initial feelings of dread may turn out to be unfounded. The main causes of chest pain can be divided into heart-related and non-heart related. As can be seen from the summary list below, there are many more non heart-related than heart related conditions that may be the cause of chest pain, although some are still serious:

Non-Heart related:

  • Pleurisy
  • Heartburn
  • Duodenal Ulcer
  • Bronchitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Shingles
  • Chest wall pain (Tietzes syndrome)
  • Bornholm Disease
  • Lung Cancer
  • Secondary cancer affecting the ribs

Heart Related:

How to tell if your chest pain IS heart related

It is a common misconception that the pain of Angina and Heart Attack are the same. Angina pain is normally related to physical activity, and may present its symptoms after a predictable amount of physical activity. The pain may be variable, from mild to severe dependant on a number of different bodily factors, such as the body temperature, state of the digestive system and the psychological state of the patient. The pain associated with a heart attack on the other hand is usually a crushing, squeezing, agonising pain that leaves the sufferer with a dreaded feeling of impending death. The pain may also radiate to the back, up into the jaw or down the left arm. Pericarditis is the inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart, and is usually accompanied by a fever, and pain behind the breastbone (sternum) which can spread to the shoulders. Additionally, localised movement usually accentuates Pericarditis pain.

Symptoms that may mimic a heart attack

These are often difficult enough for a physician to differentiate from the real thing, such that the average person would struggle to understand the relative seriousness of the risk that they represent. This is why a doctor should investigate the cause of all cases of chest pain. There are some clues though, that a chest pain may not be linked to a serious heart condition. Pleurisy for example causes a breathing related sharp stabbing type of pain as though one of the lungs had got stuck in a rib. The burning pain of reflux stomach acid in cases of heartburn may be recognised by the sufferer from previous experience and history of the condition. The Duodenal Ulcer may cause a chest pain between meals, and be relieved by the consumption of food. A physical injury or strain may cause a sharp stabbing pain in the chest, but can be immediately ruled out as being serious due to the known cause.

There are some other rarer conditions that may also cause symptoms of chest pains including some types of cancer, as mentioned above, but these are beyond the scope of this article. These will only become prospective causes following detailed medical investigation.

Possible treatments for chest pain

Many types of chest pain may at first seem related to heart problems. But often, after careful evaluation, doctors can distinguish the symptoms of non-cardiac chest pain from the pain caused by a heart condition. When you see the doctor he or she will check your blood pressure, take blood for a cholesterol test and do a diabetes test. Depending on the severity of the pain and the risk assessed by the doctor you may be prescribed low dose aspirin, and a drug such as Zetia to lower your cholesterol, and, possibly some other medication too. Almost certainly you will be referred for an exercise ECG which is a test where an electrical recording of your heart is taken while you exercise on a treadmill.

Atherosclerosis and Artery Health – Improve Yours While You Can

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Because there is no cure for Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, it is important to look after and improve your artery health before you develop the condition. Atherosclerosis is closely linked to high blood pressure which in turn has many contributory factors. Some of these are caused by lifestyle factors which you can do something about, before it’s too late. Many people who have high blood pressure may not know it, so the first recommendation is to have your blood pressure checked out by your physician, or alternatively by using a personal electronic blood pressure tester. This is especially important if you are over 45 years of age, have a family history of high blood pressure or a contributory medical factor such as diabetes. If you find that your blood pressure is greater than 140/90 you are considered to be suffering from hypertension. There are a number of counter measures that you can take for yourself as detailed below.

1. Stop Smoking

If you are a smoker, consider giving up or drastically reducing your intake of tobacco products, with a view to eliminating them completely as soon as possible. A person who smokes cigarettes, or other forms of tobacco exposes him or herself to between two and four times the average person’s risk of developing coronary heart disease. For patients who already have heart disease, smoking is a serious additional risk factor. Cardiac patients who are smokers are twice as likely to die from a heart attack as non-smoking cardiac patients. Passive smoking, or exposure to other peoples exhaled smoke also increases the risk of developing heart disease for non-smokers.

2. Reduce your Blood Cholesterol level

You should have your blood Cholesterol level checked by your physician periodically. If you have raised levels of blood cholesterol levels because of your diet then you should reduce your intake of fatty foods, and increase the frequency of periodical monitoring of your Cholesterol levels. There are four factors that determine the blood Cholesterol level – age, gender, hereditary factors and diet. Unchecked high Cholesterol levels due to diet can damage the arteries and increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

3. Reduce your High Blood Pressure

Raised blood pressure increases the amount of work that the heart has to perform, and can cause the tissues of the circulatory system, including the arteries to become thicker and more brittle. This not only increases the risk of developing heart disease, but also increases the associated risk of stroke, kidney failure and congestive heart failure. You should work with your doctor to lower your blood pressure. This may involve taking blood pressure medication and/or other lifestyle factors.

4. Reverse your sedentary lifestyle

Caution – Before embarking on any exercise program be sure to consult with your doctor.

Leading a physically inactive lifestyle is a contributory risk factor for poor artery health and developing coronary heart disease. Regular exercise is beneficial in lowering this risk, especially if it involves moderate or greater amounts of physical exertion. The British Heart Foundation has recommended a half hour period of medium to strenuous exercise 3 times a week, to maintain heart and blood vessel health. The more vigorous the activity, within reason, the greater the benefits obtained. However, lower levels of activity can still be beneficial if they maintained in the long term. There are also side benefits associated with increased physical activity in that it can assist in reducing blood cholesterol.

5. Lose weight

Obese people have a greater risk of developing heart disease. When a person is overweight for their body’s size, their heart has to perform more work. When a person’s waist measurement is greater than the hips there is an additional increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Obesity also results in higher blood pressure and blood cholesterol.

6. Manage your diabetes carefully

This condition greatly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, even if the blood glucose level is well managed by the patient, diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. However the risks are further increased if the blood glucose level is poorly managed. So it is very important to maintain stable blood glucose levels over the long term.

7. Reduce your alcohol consumption

Drinking too much alcohol can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to heart failure and stroke. It can also increase the risk of developing cancer and other diseases. However the risk of developing heart disease has been found to be less in people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol, compared to those that drink no alcohol. The most important advice is to visit your doctor if you feel that you have identified one or more of the above risk factors to your arterial health, either in your lifestyle or heredity. Do not panic, but do not delay either, as it is rarely too late to seek help and begin a program of remedial treatment, most of which is within your control and without financial cost.