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February 10, 2011 - February 10, 2011

Tips for a Healthy Heart this Valentine’s Day

Amber Wilson, MS, RD



This Valentine’s Day, fall in love with yourself.  February is American Heart Month and the perfect time to focus on heart healthy habits.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but your risk of developing heart disease can be greatly reduced through diet and exercise.  Try one new heart healthy behavior each week in the month of February; come March, you’ll be heart healthy and loving it! 

Top 5 Heart Healthy Foods

Blueberries – These tasty berries contain anthyocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants responsible for their characteristic dark blue color.  Blueberries are also packed with fiber and vitamin C.

Recipe idea:

Soy Protein – This versatile food contains fiber, vitamins and minerals and has been shown to help lower triglycerides.

Recipe idea: Combine boiled edamame (shelled and frozen), black beans and chopped red bell pepper with 3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 Tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper for a protein packed side dish.

Oatmeal – Don’t avoid oatmeal just because it’s a carbohydrate.  Oats are whole grains filled with vitamins, minerals and soluble fiber (which has been shown to lower cholesterol).

Recipe idea: Make a large batch of this oatmeal at the beginning of the week and take a serving out each morning for breakfast.  Cook plain oats according to package directions.  Stir in chopped apple, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and ground flax seed.  Note:  Flax seed contains heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Salmon – For a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids, grill up a piece of salmon for dinner.  The American Heart Association recommends eating salmon and other types of fish at least two nights per week for optimum health benefits.

Recipe idea: Check out the Tasty Weeknight Salmonrecipe on my website for a quick heart healthy dinner any night of the week.

Spinach ­– This leafy green contains high amounts of phytochemicals to help protect against heart disease along with a healthy dose of folate and iron.

Recipe idea: Making grains or pasta for dinner?  Add some sautéed spinach to for added nutrients and flavor.  Just sauté spinach with  chopped garlic in some olive oil, adding salt and pepper at the end.  Stir sautéed spinach into cooked grains or pasta.

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