Appetizing Thoughts: Dr. Angelo A. Alonzo Hearts Your Health

The effects of eating unhealthy food isn’t always immediate. It’s why many people continue to have unhealthy eating habits… until it’s too late.  One result are heart attacks. If victims survive, they have to follow a strict diet if they value the continuity of their life. Butter, salt and sugar are usually completely eliminated from their diet. As a foodie, my heart goes out to them.

In today’s guest interview, Dr. Angelo A. Alonzo discusses his project, The Yale Heart Study. He’s concerned about how people get medical care as they experience heart attack symptoms. In the following interview, Dr. Alonzo shares his favorite heart warming recipe, Pasta with Artichokes, Leeks and Olives, as he discusses his project in detail.

Dr. Angelo AlonzoWhat’s the purpose of the Yale Heart Study?

The goal of the study is to make recommendations to the medical community based on what we find as to how we can improve cardiac care-seeking so that patients receive heart sparing therapy within one hour to reduce disability and death from coronary heart disease.

How did you become involved with Yale’s Heart Study?

I have been involved the area of cardiac delay for four decades and the Yale Heart Study is my third study of delay. This study is different because we are trying to obtain a nationally representative sample. Previous studies, including my own, have been completed in one hospital or one community with one emergency medical system. I now want to get more representative sample to understand the barriers and facilitators to obtaining care during a heart attack.

What healing ingredients are important for heart attack survivors?

Olive oil, whole wheat pasta, asparagus, tomatoes, and whole grains are a few good choices. However, if I had to pick important basic principles of healing the heart after a heart attack they might be adherence to medical regimens prescribed by your healthcare provider, especially participation in a cardiac rehabilitation program, maintaining a balanced diet and an exercise routine in your life, and maintain social connectedness to those around you, social support is good for the heart.

After the data is collected from the Heart Study, what’s the next step?

The results from the Yale Heart Study will be disseminated in a variety of venues from academic journal to blogs. It is hoped that the results will influence how we educate people about the importance of seeking care for heart attack symptoms and that those responsible for developing social policy regarding access to emergency care will be take our results into consideration when deciding how to make emergency care available to all potential cardiac patients.

Which recipe do you heart the most?

I really do like to cook and while I do have some favorite recipes, the recipes we have been posting on our Yale Heart Study Facebook page, really are a selection of carefully chosen recipes that are nutritionally sound and heart healthy. I think making anyone of them would be a heart healthy choice.

About Yale Heart Study

The Yale Heart Study needs more study participants. Did you have or do you know someone who had a heart attack and wish to share your/their experiences? Visit From your shared answers, the study wants to quickly help people get care as quickly as possible when they are experiencing heart attack symptoms.

The study is being conducted on the internet and takes about 30 minutes to an hour to complete depending on your experience. Participation in this study is completely anonymous. The study has been approved by the Yale University Institutional Review Board and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. If you have any questions about this study please contact

Are you a survivor of a heart attack? Share your experience and discuss your lifestyle changes in the comment section below. Meanwhile, visit to participate in their questionnaire. Below is a hearty recipe originally by Dr. Alonzo that I recreated at home.

Pasta with Artichokes, Leeks and Olives

Pasta with Artichokes, Leeks and Olives


  • Pappardelle pasta; cooked al dente according to manufacturer's directions
  • Olive oil; as needed
  • 3 to 5 cloves of garlic; crushed
  • Crush red pepper; to taste
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper; to taste
  • 2 to 3 leeks; carefully cleaned from grit; white part only and sliced
  • 1/2 c. pitted kalamata olives; coarsely chopped
  • 10 to 15 oz. of artichoke hearts from the olive bar; drained and coarsely chopped
  • 14.5 oz. canned of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 cups of red wine or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. honey; more or less; depending on the sweetness of tomatoes
  • Torn fresh basil leaves; to taste. Set a few aside for garnish.
  • Homemade Mozzarella (we used smoked), grated Parmigiano Reggiano or organic ricotta cheese; as needed


  1. In a large pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and crushed red pepper. Occasionally stir until the leeks start to wilt.
  2. Add the olives, garlic and artichoke hearts. Season with sea salt and fresh black pepper (Be careful with the salt if using artichokes from the olive bar). Occasionally stir until vegetables start to wilt.
  3. Pour in the wine, stewed tomatoes with their juices, and honey (optional).
  4. Leave uncovered and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente according to manufacturer's directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Toss pasta with olive oil and one ladle spoonful of the Artichoke and Leek Sauce.
  6. A few minutes before the Artichoke and Leek Sauce is ready, add basil leaves.
  7. Place pasta in individual bowls. Top with Artichoke and Leek Sauce. Generously garnish with your choice of cheese and torn fresh basil leaves.
  8. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Appetizing Thoughts: Dr. Angelo A. Alonzo Hearts Your Health

  • September 5, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I haven’t had a heart attack and nobody really close to me has, but some of your points hit home. As a personal trainer I really try to tell my clients it’s more about what you are eating than working out. The ingredients that are healthy for heart attack survivors are also good to prevent. Maintaining a good balance of exercise & eating with a support system are the same things I tell my clients! I really liked this article && recipe (and you got a new facebook fan!)

  • July 30, 2012 at 9:34 am

    What a beautiful dish! I’m on research mode for heart healhty food for my mom. She’s never had a heart attack (thank God), but she does have heart issues that concern me. She’s very difficult, though. Likes to eat what she knows!

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