With Valentine’s Day coming up, it’s time to break out the romantic candlelit dinners, bouquets of fresh flowers and heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates. It’s also time to call your doctor and check up on your heart health. We get it, there’s nothing romantic about getting your blood work done, but February is National Heart Month. That means it’s the perfect time to make sure your heart is beating strong for your Valentine’s Day activities .
When it comes to reducing your risk for heart disease, your doctor may tell you to “eat less, exercise more, watch your fat intake, don’t eat butter .” Depending on your current lifestyle, this could be some accurate advice. However, if you’re already active, adding another 20 minutes of exercise won’t do the trick.
Reducing your risk for heart disease may include changing certain habits, but there’s one unavoidable change that has the greatest impact on your heart: what you feed your body. If the thought of creating healthier eating habits breaks your heart, you just need to change your mindset . Eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up what you love or taking away from your diet. Instead of eating less, just eat well . Start with real, nutritious, whole foods. Here are some incredibly heart-healthy foods to add to your diet:
Strawberries are the perfect dessert to not only get your Valentine in the mood , but also improve your heart health! Fill up on fiber with sweet berries like raspberries, blueberries or strawberries. Each cup of raspberries has a whopping 8g of fiber. Sprinkle them in your yogurt parfait or atop a fresh salad.
Salmon makes a delicious dinner for two, with the added benefit of Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is packed with this healthy fat that helps reduce inflammation caused by plaque buildup and environmental damage.
We know, beans are not the sexiest side dish. But when it comes to keeping your heart working properly, beans are a quadruple threat. Antioxidants, fiber, protein and iron make beans the ultimate heart health food. Not to mention, protein gives you the energy to keep your Valentine’s evening going all night long.
Want to really pump up your heart health? Add a handful of almonds to your salad or sprinkle them crushed in your parfait. Loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, fiber, protein and magnesium, almonds pack the ultimate heart healthy punch.
Loaded with folate, fiber, beta carotene, vitamin A and antioxidants, asparagus helps our bodies naturally release fluid and excess salt in blood, reducing blood pressure. Try steaming asparagus to reduce the loss of vitamins for a heart-healthy side which pairs perfectly with citrus salmon.
So instead of spending hours decoding nutrition facts and ingredient labels, stick to eating real, nutritious foods. After all, eating healthy is the #1 way to have a happy, healthy heart for life.