Aw, February. For many, this month invokes visions of red roses, white doilies and romance.
For others, it may conjure up images of scratching your ex’s eyes out of old photographs while drinking red wine and sobbing into a gallon of ice cream.
No? Don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s been there.
Whether you love or hate this month (and the holiday that goes along with it), February is also known for something that everyone can be happy about: American Heart Month.
American Heart Month is all about love too — but love for yourself.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the U.S., so protecting your ticker should be a major priority.
Today I’m rounding up 5 of my favorite healthy heart foods and recipes that contain them. Not only will these recipes make your heart happy, I’m guessing your stomach will be pleased as well!
Healthy Heart Helper: Red Wine
In moderation, red wine can be great for your heart. It’s full of antioxidants called flavonoids and a substance called resveratrol which may help protect blood vessels, lower LDL, aka “bad cholesterol,” and prevent blood clots.
Healthy Heart Helper: Salmon
Omega-3 fatty acids are what give this pretty pink fish its heart protecting properties. Research shows these healthy fats decrease the risk of an abnormal heartbeat, arterial plaque build up and overall triglyceride levels.
Healthy Heart Helper: Oats
Oats are high in soluble fiber which can help lower cholesterol. These cookies contain mainly natural sugar (aside from the chocolate chips) so the health benefits from the oats won’t be negated by any added junk.
Healthy Heart Helper: Avocado
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats which have been shown to lower your risk of heart disease. One study showed that an avocado a day had the effect of lowering LDL cholesterol in overweight individuals and had beneficial effects on other cardio-metabolic risk factors.
Healthy Heart Helper: Blueberries + Almonds
Research from the American Heart Association shows that one serving of almonds per day could lower your LDL cholesterol levels, while maintaining the “good” HDL cholesterol, and help prevent the onset of cardiometabolic diseases. Meanwhile, blueberries have been shown to decrease blood pressure and reduce arterial stiffness, precursors to cardiovascular disease.
Combine the benefits of blueberries and almonds with the advantages of oats, and you’ve got yourself a triple dose of heart-protecting power in this granola.
Show yourself some love this month and try out one of these recipes.
FYI – Friday is National Wear Red Day. Show your support for heart health by whipping out your favorite red outfit!