Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day and Another Reason to Wear Red

Happy Valentine's Day!  Today is the day for red, hearts and cupid.  It's also the month of heart health awareness and what better day to celebrate the muscle that beats and gives you life?  You want to remember to get your annual check ups and to take care of yourself.

Exercise most days of the week to keep yourself functioning properly.  I don't care if you walk, run, go to the gym, dance to your Ipod or go on a cleaning spree.  Just move for 30 minutes, break it up into chunks of time if you have to.  Every minute and movement counts.

Eat foods that help your heart function at it's best.  Foods rich in Omega 3's, vitamins, fiber, phytoestrogens, phytosterols, antioxidants, B complex vitamins and vitamins C and E all work to keep you in optimal health.  It sounds like a daunting task but these are in some very basic and common foods.  Happily red wine, berries, walnuts, almonds and chocolate are in the top 25 heart healthy foods. You can have a lovely Valentine dinner and still take great care of your heart. 

The nutrients and what they do:
Omega 3's - found in salmon, walnuts and flaxseed.  The boost the immune system, protect against blood clots and heart attacks.
Phytoestrogens - act like a weak version of estrogen and are found in flaxseed.  They lower the risk of blood clots, stroke and arrhythmias. 
Phytoesterols - seem to lower cholesterol in the body.  All nuts, seeds and wheat germ have them.
Polyphenols - a type of antioxidant that reduces blood pressure, lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and protects blood vessels.
Antioxidants - found in most colorful fruits and vegetables.
B complex vitamins - protects against blood clots and hardening of the arteries.
Vitamins C & E - protects cells against free radicals.

My dinner tonight is going to consist of:  shrimp, broccoli, walnuts, red peppers, and asparagus over brown rice.  There will be red wine and dark chocolate.  My husband, my heart and my tastebuds will all be happy and taken care of. 

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