February Is Heart Health Month, a Reminder to Take Care of the One Heart That Beats for You
With February right around the corner, Valentine’s Day plans are well underway. Cue the flowers, sweet treats, and dinner. But wait, it’s also Heart Health month, a good time to remember that we can enjoy the day while still being kind to our heart. This year, consider opting for a healthy and romantic meal at home, a great way to control what and how much you eat. Registered dietitian Susan Bowerman offers simple tips to keep your love and heart going strong.
Heart Health Month
Save your appetite. Be sure you plan ahead. Preparing your meals and snacks in advance will help you avoid the chocolates and other goodies in the office. If you are too busy to meal prep, a meal replacement shake like Formula 1 Dutch Chocolate flavor from Herbalife Nutrition might be a good option. One serving contains 9 grams of soy protein, and 25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Toast to your good health and love. Sip champagne which, like wine, contains natural antioxidants from the grapes. Alternatively, you can make a festive non-alcoholic drink by adding a splash of 100% fruit juice to sparkling water. Red or purple juices such as 100% grape and pomegranate are rich in polyphenols. These are naturally occurring compounds in the fruit which help to increase blood flow and support healthy blood pressure.
Add color to your meal. For your first course, have a colorful salad. Bright orange carrots, red tomatoes, and deep green spinach owe their colors to a group of heart-healthy antioxidant pigments called carotenoids. For added benefit, toss in some avocado and dress your salad with a little olive oil. Since carotenoids are fat-soluble, the addition of small amounts of heart-healthy fats to your salad will help your body absorb these beneficial compounds from the vegetables. Cooked beans also are a heart-healthy addition since their water-soluble fiber can help to keep cholesterol levels in check.
Sea of love. Grill it, sauté it, or bake it! Fish is generally low in total fat and saturated fats. And it is also one of the best sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids which help to control the levels of certain fats in the blood, like triglycerides and cholesterol.
Let yourself go “a little nuts.” Tree nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are rich in compounds called phytosterols that can help keep cholesterol in check. Try toasting them lightly in the oven or a dry frying pan. It brings out their natural flavor. Then sprinkle them on top of some steamed veggies for a great side dish, or add them to your salad.
Enjoy the sweetness. Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without some chocolate. Naturally occurring compounds in cocoa called flavonoids act as antioxidants. And the darker the chocolate, the more flavonoids you get. So, have a bite of dark chocolate to finish your meal. Or, for a doubly healthy dessert, drizzle some melted bittersweet chocolate over fresh berries. The natural red-purple pigments that give berries their beautiful color act as antioxidants, too.
For more tips visit www.DiscoverGoodNutrition.com.