It all comes down to what you use to make your dessert (and just as important, what you don't use). Cardiologist Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, the dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, previously shared with Well+Good what the best foods for heart health are, and many of them can be easily incorporated into desserts. Nuts, fruit, plant oils (like olive oil), and yogurt are all linked to supporting heart health. On the other side of the spectrum, Dr. Mozaffarian says it's important to minimize high-sodium foods, sugar, and refined grains.
- Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, cardiologist, professor of medicine at Tufts School of Medicine, Jean Mayer Professor of Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University
If you're not used to making or buying desserts where sugar and refined grains aren't front and center, you may think it's impossible to have a delicious tasting dessert without them. Spoiler: It's not. For proof, look no further than the ten recipes rounded up here. Not only are they made with the foods that top Dr. Mozaffarian's heart-healthy list, they can all easily be made in the Instant Pot, the crown jewel of kitchen appliances. That way, not only are you making something that will support your heart, but you're doing so in a way that saves time, too. Talk about a dessert win!
Keep reading for 10 heart-healthy Instant Pot desserts.
1. Apple crisp
You know the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"? That's because eating apples is linked to supporting cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol. Here, they're used to make an apple crisp, combined with rolled oats and cinnamon—two other ingredients that are directly linked to supporting the heart. Using the Instant Pot, it only takes 20 minutes to make.
Get the recipe: apple crisp
2. Instant Pot stuffed peaches
Here's another recipe that features a cinnamon and a nutrient-rich fruit (in this case, peaches). Peaches are so naturally sweet that you don't need any sugar at all in this recipe. The peaches are stuffed with cassava flour, another substitute to white flour that benefits cardiovascular health because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Get the recipe: Instant Pot stuffed peaches
3. Date carrot cake
If you're never tried using your Instant Pot to make a cake, this is the perfect time to give it a shot. There are so many heart-healthy ingredients used to make this cake. Some of the standouts: ground flaxseed, avocado, dates, cinnamon, and ginger.
Get the recipe: date carrot cake
4. Greek yogurt cheesecake
Yogurt is one of the foods that Dr. Mozaffarian recommends for heart health and in this recipe, it's used to make a decadent cheesecake. Top your slice off with raspberries for heart health benefits on top of heart health benefits.
Get the recipe: Greek yogurt cheesecake
5. Instant Pot rice pudding
As previously mentioned, cinnamon is directly linked to supporting heart health. It's also the perfect way to spice up creamy rice pudding. To make this recipe even more of a cardiovascular health all-star, use brown rice and evaporated milk instead of condensed milk.
Get the recipe: Instant Pot rice pudding
6. Instant Pot brownies
Yep, brownies can absolutely be a heart-healthy food. The key is using dark chocolate (which is high in antioxidants) and no white flour or added sugar. Here, almond butter is used, which makes these brownies extra rich while adding heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
Get the recipe: Instant Pot brownies
7. Instant Pot applesauce
While many store-bought applesauces are loaded with sugar, you can make your own heart-healthy 'sauce with just two ingredients: apples and cinnamon. With your Instant Pot, it just takes 20 minutes.
Get the recipe: Instant Pot applesauce
8. Banana bread
You can use your homemade applesauce right in this banana bread recipe, which will give your loaf natural sweetness. (The recipe calls for a quarter cup sugar but the banana bread still tastes great without it.) Besides the bananas (full of potassium, which helps keep blood pressure from rising), you'll find two other heart-healthy ingredients in the recipe too: pecans and cinnamon.
Get the recipe: banana bread
9. Strawberry compote
Berries are especially great for the heart because they're full of antioxidants, health-supporting compounds that fight inflammation and free radical damage. In this Instant Pot compote, strawberries are the core ingredient so you're sure to get anti-inflammatory benefits by the spoonful.
Get the recipe: strawberry compote
10. Black bean brownies
As if one healthy brownie recipe wasn't enough of a gift, here's another one to taste test. Besides cacao powder, the central ingredients are oats and beans—one of the most heart-healthy foods that exists. Vanilla and a touch of maple syrup also give these brownies their sweet flavor.
Get the recipe: black bean brownies
Get more healthy dessert ideas in Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.
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