Friday, February 10, 2012

For Valentine's Day... Think Outside the Chocolate Box!

February is not only the month to celebrate L-O-V-E, but it also American Heart Month. More than 70 million Americans suffer from some form of heart disease and this remains the leading cause of death in the United States. For most people, heart disease is preventable. One of the most effective ways to prevent it is through the diet! With this in mind, you can see why it is so important to make this year about loving your heart and soul. With a few small changes to traditional gifts and healthful choices you can celebrate a Valentine’s Day from the heart that’s also good for your heart!

Instead of giving the traditional gift of chocolates and candy, try giving your loved ones a beautiful basket filled with dried fruits and nuts or an assortment of herbal teas with honey sticks. Another wonderful gift is a membership to a gym, a month with a personal trainer, or even something they might not think about like a series of yoga classes or belly dancing classes. Focus on health rather than indulgence. When it comes time for the romantic dinner that you and your loved one share on Valentine’s Day, choose foods that are heart healthy: salmon- a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein; spinach and other leafy green vegetables- rich in phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals; tofu- rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals (soy protein has been shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol)… try a new vegetarian restaurant for a change. Keep your love alive and your blood flowing… they say that experimentation keeps love fresh. Try this experiment, go for a walk as a family in the morning, schedule your annual physical (more than one-third of people with high blood pressure do not know that they have it), have a heart healthful dinner and send a gift other than chocolate to your loved one. “Variety is the spice of life”

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