Culinistas's Kitchen,  Health

The Heart of a Woman

by The Culinistas

(as part of our Wellness Through Food: Way to Your Heart series)

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum is a cardiologist, womens’ wellness advocate, and the author of “Every Woman’s Guide to a Heart-Healthy Life,” in which she integrates emotional and physical well-being in her approach to women’s heart health. She basically wrote the Bible when it comes to women and heart health. 

We sat down with Dr. Steinbaum to talk “exercise prescriptions,” why heart health is especially important in women, and why her motto is to “Live from the heart.”

The Culinistas: Why do you think some are half-hearted about heart health?

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum: Most women don’t realize the threat that heart disease represents. But according to recent studies, 35% of deaths among women by 2030 will come from heart disease. It’s the number 1 killer of women, and still people think of it as a man’s disease. There’s an increased incidence in women under the age of 55. So it may not be that they are “half-hearted” but just unaware.

TC: What’s one easy step anyone can take to protect their heart?

DS: Exercise!!! It seems too easy, but as I’ve told the thousands of patients in my practice, exercise is truly the best medication. I give my patients their own “exercise prescription” all the time.

TC: What’s the biggest impact of a holistic/preventive approach to heart health?

DS: Through prevention we can reverse heart disease. Eighty percent of all heart disease is preventable. And since it costs American medicine $1 billion a day to treat disease, any investment we make in holistic heart health is a great one, especially to each and every woman who changes her life through healthy preventative strategies.

TC: What’s the biggest myth about heart health?

DS: That it only matters to men! If women don’t know the risk they aren’t as likely to actively pursue a heart-healthy lifestyle. Unless women are overweight or have a family history of this disease, they often think it doesn’t pertain to them. The facts — and my experience — prove otherwise. Stress, unhealthy eating habits, going through perimenopause/menopause, difficulty sleeping, and a lack of exercise all contribute to problems with heart health.

TC: What one dish or food that is the way to your heart?

DS: Blueberries! Healthy, tasty and so good for the heart. OK, two foods. And dark chocolate (just a bite or two)! 

TC: What’s your go-to cure for a broken heart?

DS: Listening to music and dancing with total abandonment. Sweat off and sing off and work off the sadness and get back into life. 

TC: What’s one thing you’ve always had your heart set on, but never tried?

DS: Being the lead in a Broadway musical.

TC: What’s something you’ll always hold near and dear to your heart?

DS: Time with my son.

TC: Tell us about a time you followed your heart and it paid off.

DS: Most of my life I’ve done what I tell everyone to do: “Live from the heart.” It always pays off. 

We asked Dr. Steinbaum to select six of her favorite dishes from our Way to Your Heart menu:

White Bean Hummus & Crudités

garbanzo bean, navy bean, onion, garlic, lemon, sage, za’atar, vegetables

Edamame Dip with Radishes

soy bean, basil, rice wine vinegar, lime, radish, cayenne, onion powder

Radicchio & Carrots

radicchio, grape, wheat berry, carrot, pistachio, lemon, sumac, solstice blend

Shaved Broccoli Salad

kohlrabi, broccoli, orange, cashew, chive, lemon, urfa, cayenne, onion powder

Corn & Kale Salad

kale, corn, walnuts, parsley, shallot, red wine vinegar, cayenne, onion powder

Salmon with Raisin Scallion Sauce

wild salmon, scallion, raisin, lemon, urfa