Heart-Healthy Cooking Secrets from Top Chefs

11 culinary wizards share their tips for preparing gourmet meals that boost heart health, protect against diabetes and more (12 Photos)

Maura Rhodes on Mar 5, 2012 at 10:19AM

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Heart-Healthy Cooking Secrets from Top Chefs

Courtesy of Joe Bastianich

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Joe Bastianich

Five years ago, Joe Bastianich, restaurateur and son of Italian-food expert Lidia Bastianich, was carrying 60 extra pounds and had a myriad of medical problems to show for it: sleep apnea, early symptoms of type 2 diabetes, dangerously high cholesterol levels, through-the-roof blood pressure. One doctor recommended medication and a mask to help him breathe at night; another strongly suggested he drop the weight. Bastianich chose the latter path and embarked on a diet and fitness regimen that included walking on a treadmill, first one mile, then two, until he was running, at which point the competitive bug bit him and he decided to try a 5K. A year and a half after he resolved to get into shape, Bastianich ran his first New York City Marathon. But he also changed how he cooked and ate, relying more on fresh vegetables and less on refined and processed foods. And while his Italian heritage wouldn’t allow him to swear off pasta -- in fact, it fuels his running -- he often subs protein-packed beans for noodles, serving them with a fresh-veggie-based sauce, as in this white bean stew with Swiss chard and tomatoes.

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