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Heart Healthy Foods for February

February is American Heart month. This February marks the 51st anniversary of American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., claiming more lives than all cancers combined. It is important for us to take a serious look at what we can do to lower our risk for heart disease this month and throughout the year. I will share with you the following tips to get started on your path toward Heart Health.

Be active. Physical activity is one of the best ways to fight off heart disease and other chronic conditions. Any amount of activity is better than nothing. However at least 30 minutes a day is ideal. If you can’t devote a full 30 minutes, split your exercise into 10-minute segments.

Maintain a healthy diet. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables, protein, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and lentils. Avoid foods and beverages that are high in fat and sugar. High fiber foods can help prevent high cholesterol.

Aim for a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight especially in your mid-section is hard on the heart and can increase risk for diabetes. Losing 5-10% of your starting weight can make a big difference in your blood pressure and blood sugar.

Know your numbers. Have your levels checked. Staying informed will allow you to better manage your heart and prevent certain health conditions from developing.

Dark chocolate on Valentine’s Day? My answer would be “yes”. Why?

  1. Dark chocolate may give your brain a boost. Dark chocolate, made from the seed of the cocoa tree, is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.
  2. Cocoa may calm your blood pressure.
  3. Dark chocolate can help you lower your cholesterol. There are a number of products out there to help lower cholesterol. But by all means, don’t use dark chocolate as a license to purchase a case of dark chocolate. It is just an added benefit.
  4. Studies show that dark chocolate can improve your health and lower your risk of heart disease. Keep in mind these dark chocolates should contain at least 50-70% cocoa.

Another tip: these dark chocolates should be sweetened with natural healthy sweeteners, not refined sugars. Where can you find these healthy sweeteners? “At the Health Patch” of course!

Your Wellness Friend:
Shirley Golden, Staff ND, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health
1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, ph:736-1030, e-mail: jehovah316@netzero.net.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is intended for
educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.