Just as you’ve mastered your New Year’s Resolutions to eat healthier, Valentine’s Day, with all the temptations of sweets, is around the corner. This Valentine’s Day I challenge you to shift your focus from Sweet Tarts to Cocoa-Berry Tarts and treat yourself to nutrient-rich heart healthy foods that taste great! Valentine’s Day also coincides with Heart Health Month, so keep your resolution to stay healthy this year and include these five heart healthy foods in your diet.
- Yogurt: Along with many of its health benefits, research shows that yogurt is a powerful food in helping to protect against gum disease, which may elevate a person’s risk for heart disease. Enjoy yogurt daily right out of the carton or in smoothies, parfaits and desserts.
- Tomatoes: An excellent source of vitamin C, plus vitamin A, potassium and fiber, tomatoes are high in lycopene. Research suggests that lycopene consumption might reduce the risk of heart disease. Enjoy tomatoes in sandwiches, salads, soup, pasta, pizza, whole grains, omelets and casseroles.
- Chocolate: Yes, chocolate! In multiple studies, the consumption of chocolate is linked to lower rates of stroke, coronary heart disease, blood pressure, and other cardiovascular conditions. But before you raid the candy counter, remember that moderation is key. Get your chocolate fix with this pie.
- Berries: Eating just 1 cup a week of strawberries and blueberries can help keep blood pressure under control. Add them to cereal, yogurt, fruit salad or a smoothie and make your heart and belly happy!
- Salmon: Studies show that consuming 2 or more servings of fish a week is associated with a 30 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Salmon is an especially heart healthy fish because it is high in Omega-3 fats which help decrease the risk of numerous cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack, stroke, heart arrhythmia and high blood pressure. Keep your whole family healthy with this family friendly salmon recipe.
What heart healthy food will you add to your diet this month?
Laura Buxenbaum, MPH, RD, LDN