February Is All About the Heart!

Bigstock.com/RomarioIen

Bigstock.com/RomarioIen

In the month of February, we celebrate the heart! February is dedicated as Heart Month and February 14th is Valentine’s Day.

Here are some healthy and fun ways to celebrate the physical and emotional health of your heart with that special someone.

Heart Healthy Date Night Dinner

Spend a romantic evening cooking a heart healthy meal for two!  Instead of going out, stay in. Be in control of the ingredients and enjoy a fun-filled night of good conversation and “good-for-you” food.  Incorporate some of these heart healthy foods into your date night meal.

  • Fish – Choose a fish high in Omega 3 such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring or trout.
  • Nuts – Chop up some almonds or walnuts to add to a salad or use as a crunchy topping for your fish.
  • Asparagus – At only 25 calories per cup, or 5 calories per large spear, asparagus packs in nutrients such as beta-carotene, folate and fiber.  Try it roasted with olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper.  It’s delicious!
  • Carrots, Red Peppers, Sweet Potatoes and Acorn Squash – have carotenoids, fiber and vitamins to help your heart.  Steamed or roasted, all of these veggies are packed with flavor!
  • Berries – Don’t forget dessert.  Berries are chock full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber.  For dessert, mix a few types of berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries with a light homemade whipped cream.
  • Red Wine and Dark Chocolate – The right amount of red wine and dark chocolate can be beneficial in lowering your blood pressure. Just don’t overindulge or you will spoil the benefits.

For some recipes using these ingredients, check out some of these links:

Heart Healthy Date Activities

Instead of going to that movie and eating a bucket of butter-saturated popcorn, why not choose a date night activity that gets you moving! Try some of these fun-filled “get up and go” activities:

  • Take a long stroll along a river or through the park at sunset.  A sunrise hike through the woods is also romantic.  Make sure you bring water to stay hydrated.
  • Take a dance class together.  What a romantic way to spend time with your partner and get in your exercise.
  • Try a rock-climbing or trampoline gym.  They are safe and accommodate all skill levels.  Spotting your partner is an excellent way to build trust and enjoy a few laughs.  Laughing burns calories too!
  • Take a sunset horseback ride.  It may seem like something straight out of a cheesy romance novel, but horseback riding improves your posture and gets your heart rate up, increasing cardiovascular health.

The month of February provides a fabulous reminder to take notice of one of our most important organs…the heart!  An emotionally and physically healthy heart is paramount to good health in general.  So shake things up in the date department while taking care of your heart health this month!

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