Eat your heart out America, for there are foods that actually help the health of your heart. “Years of research has shown that a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fat and lean protein will not only help with weight maintenance, but with overall heart health,” said Katie Boles, R.D., L.D.N., clinical dietician with the Brenner FIT Program, at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Eating a variety of these foods and eating them in moderation is key to a heart-healthy diet.”
Luckily, some of these foods, when combined, can make quite the romantic and cardiac-healthy dinner that’s perfect to serve to your significant other on Valentine’s Day.
During the meal, enjoy a glass of red wine. This alcoholic beverage contains antioxidants that can improve “good” HDL cholesterol. Remember, moderation is key.
Serve a spinach salad to defend against high blood pressure and hypertension. Top it with walnuts or carrots to add crunch and reduce cholesterol.
For the main course, serve a simple Italian favorite, pasta with marinara sauce. Tomatoes are chalk full of beta- and alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein, vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and fiber. Garlic also reduces serum lipids, also known as cholesterol, and can assist in lowering blood pressure.
End the meal with a piece of dark chocolate. This delightful treat consisting of 70 percent or higher cocoa content will not only conveniently fulfill a craving, but help to lower blood pressure as well.
Visit the Wake Forest Baptist Heart Center website at http://www.wakehealth.edu/2012-Heart.htm to find additional information on heart health and more.
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