I thought long and hard about posting a recipe of some yummy, somewhat decadent treat since most of us associate Valentine’s Day with sweets. However, I decided a few tips on helping your heart stay healthy might be a better way for me to show some love. (But in case you really want something sweet, and not too naughty, see my recipe for dairy-free chocolate truffles here.)
Experts think only about 25% of heart disease is genetic. The rest can be attributed to several factors, primarily diet and lifestyle. Here are a few good basics for keeping your heart healthy. They’re relatively easy, straightforward and have numerous benefits for your health, not just your heart.
Chocolate – The flavonols in cacao can lower your risk of heart disease by thinning your blood and relaxing your blood vessels which lowers your blood pressure. Look for “dark” chocolate, preferably with 70% or more cacao.
Olive oil – Its mix of antioxidants can lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) without having a negative effect on your HDL (good cholesterol).
Garlic – Eating at least one fresh clove of garlic a day can help prevent cholesterol from building up in your bloodstream, keeping arteries plaque-free and more flexible.
Apples – Eating an apple a day (not the juice!) may just keep the doctor away! Studies suggest the fiber and flavonoids in apples may lower your risk of having a heart attach by stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing cholesterol.
Wine – One glass of red wine a day has been shown to boost your levels of heart healthy fatty acids. However, for women, drinking more than one glass a day has been shown to increase your risk of other serious illnesses, such as breast cancer.
Exercise – Just 30 minutes of exercise a day will lower your blood pressure and increase your HDL. Stroll, walk, sprint, vary your speed and intensity to keep things interesting and help protect your heart.
Relax – It’s easier said than done for most of us, but a regular practice of yoga or meditation has been proven to improve your overall health and lower your risk of heart disease.
Wishing you love and good health!