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February Heart Healthy Month

Posted Feb 01 2010 1:00am

Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer in our nation and it is important that men & women do what they can to keep their hearts healthy. You can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by taking steps like eating healthy, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and getting regular health exams.

February is Heart Healthy Month, the following foods can lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and generally reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are a few of my favorite ingredients for a Heart Healthy Kitchen.

Flaxseeds
Rich in ALA, a fatty acid that may help regulate blood pressure, blood fat, and inflammation.

Blueberries
Antioxidants in these berries help fight inflammation and lower bad LDL cholesterol, blood fats, and blood sugar.

Legumes
Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol and can help improve insulin resistance.

Curry
Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon on cooked cauliflower, or add to chicken salad.

Spinach
B vitamins and antioxidants fight heart disease; magnesium can help lower blood pressure.

Sage
Dip a whole-grain roll in olive oil instead of butter, with a sprinkle of sage and black pepper.

Red Wine and Grape Juice
Contain high levels of antioxidants that help protect the vascular system.

Crushed Red Pepper
Dust 1/8 teaspoon on hummus for a kick, or saute 1/4 teaspoon with 1/2 cup light coconut milk for a shrimp-and-broccoli stir-fry.

Ginger
Toss 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger with 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce, and 1/2 cup 100 percent pineapple juice for a zesty marinade.

Salmon
Omega-3s help reduce triglycerides and bad cholesterol and make blood flow smoothly, lessening the chance of clotting.

Nuts
Packed with heart helpers, like omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, potassium, and vitamin E.

Peppermint
Puree 2 tablespoons fresh mint with 1/2 cup yogurt or ricotta cheese. Serve with berries.

Oatmeal
A great source of soluble fiber and full of heart-friendly B vitamins.

Cinnamon
Mix 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 teaspoons honey with 2 tablespoons peanut butter. Spread on sliced apples or pears.

Olive and Canola Oil
High in heart-smart monounsaturated fats; lower in saturated fat than other oils.




Go Red For Women celebrates the energy, passion and power we have as women to band together to wipe out heart disease and stroke.
Thanks to the participation of millions of people across the country, the color red and the red dress now stand for the ability all women have to improve their heart health and live stronger, longer lives.

Stand up and speak out against heart disease in women by wearing red on Friday, Feb. 5.

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