Valentine’s Day! A day full of love, hugs, and… chocolates? Well, this year we’re giving a twist to the Valentine’s menu. Instead of the regular heart-shaped candies, how about we fill our plates with foods that are actually good for our hearts? Sounds interesting? Let’s do this!
  1. Salmon: The Heart’s BFF!
Have you ever heard of omega-3 fatty acids? Well, they’re like superheroes for our hearts! And guess where you can find a lot of it? Yep, salmon! Eating salmon can lower the risk of heart disease. Plus, it’s super tasty! Grilled or baked, it’s perfect for a romantic dinner. Scientists say that omega-3 fatty acids can decrease the risk of irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure a bit. Cool, right?
  1. Berries: Nature’s Little Candies!
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, they’re not just pretty and yummy. These tiny fruits are packed with things called antioxidants that keep your heart happy! According to Johns Hopkins registered dietitian Kathleen Johnson, berries are a heart-healthy snack choice. A berry salad is a  great choice for dessert to follow after that salmon.
  1. Nuts: A Crunchy Delight!
Walnuts, almonds, and so many more. Not only are they a crunchy and fun snack, but they’re also full of good stuff for our hearts. But remember! Eating them unsalted is the key. Maybe sprinkle some on your salad or have a handful as a snack. Nuts have fiber and vitamin E which help lower bad cholesterol. Cholesterol is like the bad guy for our hearts.
  1. Whole Grains: More Than Just Bread!
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that whole grains can be a great addition to a heart-healthy diet. They have a load of fiber, which is super good for us. Consider starting your Valentine’s Day with a warm bowl of oatmeal. Add some berries and nuts to make it even more tasty and healthy.
  1. Avocado: Green, Creamy, and Dreamy!
This creamy fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) is not just for toast. It’s full of healthy fats that make our heart dance with joy. Slice it on salads or just have it plain. Delicious! Scientists found that avocados have monounsaturated fats which are heart-healthy fats. They’re the good guys! Remember, the best way to enjoy these foods is when they’re fresh. Always wash fruits and veggies before eating, and store foods in the fridge if you’re not eating them right away. Safety first! This Valentine’s Day let’s celebrate love by loving our hearts. Eat right and stay happy. Berry-Licious Heart-Healthy Salad for Two! Love is in the air, and so is the sweet aroma of fresh berries! This simple yet delicious berry salad is not only eye-catching, but also heart loving. So, let’s whisk up a perfect Valentine’s treat for you and your loved one! Ingredients:
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (optional for a refreshing twist)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional for added sweetness)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  1. In a mixing bowl, gently toss the strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries together.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice. If you’re opting for a touch of sweetness, this is the moment to whisk in your honey or maple syrup.
  3. If you’re using mint (and we recommend you do for that refreshing kick), sprinkle the chopped leaves over your berries.
  4. Drizzle the lemon mixture over the berries and gently toss them to coat.
  5. Divide the salad into two bowls or plates, garnishing with a few whole mint leaves on top, if desired. Pair it with a sparkling water, and you’ve got yourself a heart-healthy, refreshing treat!
  This salad doesn’t just bring in the colors and flavors of love, but also the goodness of antioxidants from the berries. A treat your heart and taste buds will thank you for. Enjoy your berry-licious Valentine’s Day! Written by Irisvette Lagoa and Elizabeth C. Shephard  References  Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2022, February 22). Prepare heart healthy foods for your family. American Heart Association. (2022, June 1). Consuming about 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day may lower blood pressure. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2023). Berry Good for Your Heart. NIH. (2022, April 1). Avocados can support a heart-healthy diet. Pacheco, L. S., Li, Y., Rimm, E. B., Manson, J. E., Sun, Q., Rexrode, K., Hu, F. B., & Guasch‐Ferré, M. (2022). Avocado consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in US adults. Journal of the American Heart Association, 11(7).
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