You want to delight your sweetie this Valentineís Day? Give
her what her heart craves. Itíll be good for you as well.
disease is the leading cause of death for women as well as men
in the United States, says the American Heart Association. And
nearly half of us possess at least one factor that can make
our hearts sick, including high blood pressure, obesity,
physical inactivity or an unhealthy diet.
know what your darling needs to strengthen her heart and
yours? Here are some ideas from those who study such things:
her life. Season those romantic meals with less salt and more
herbs and spices. These "mini vegetables" offer
antioxidant substances that help keep arteries clear. And
reducing sodium brings down blood pressure.
plant protein. Soy protein, for example, is just as
"complete" a protein source as animal-based foods. A
recent small yet well-designed study that replaced 30 grams
(about 4 ounces) of animal protein in the daily diet of adults
with the same amount of soy protein found a significant
reduction in some risk factors for heart disease, including
LDL cholesterol levels. And these volunteers dropped some
extra weight in the process. Sweet.
your loverís heart. Those good omega-3 fatty acids in fish
have been shown to decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeats
(arrhythmias) that can lead to sudden death, reports the AHA.
Omega-3 fatty acids also help lower triglyceride (fat) levels
in the blood. A couple of small servings or 7 to 8 ounces a
week should do the trick, say experts.
in a bit of dark chocolate. As opposed to milk chocolate,
darker chocolate contains higher amounts of flavanols,
substances that may help reduce oxidative stress and
inflammation, recognized risk factors for heart disease. One
recent study reported at the Third International Congress of
Cocoa, Tea and Coffee (can I go?) found that flavanols
appeared to turn off some of the genes that help create
abnormal fat placement in the body. My hero.
some red. Modest consumption of wine is a feature of the
Mediterranean style of eating which has been shown to have
benefits for the heart. And modest means just that or not at
all, according to the latest guidelines from the American
Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology
(AHA/ACC). Excess alcohol ó more than 5 ounces of wine a day
for women and more than 10 ounces a day for men ó increases
blood pressure and the risk for stroke.
out on the dance floor. Physical activity calms our nerves and
strengthens our hearts. At least 150 minutes of exercise
(including dancing) each week is the goal, say experts.
arenít a bad idea, either. Happy Valentineís Day.