Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and before you run off buying chocolate and confetti, you might want to check out some healthier alternatives to express your love to your partner, and most importantly show them that you care about their health and wellbeing.
Bring on the heat with a dose of chili peppers which are known to have a positive impact on the heart. The spiciness in them means they are loaded with vitamin C to help your immune system.
Choose naturally sweet ingredients like sweet potatoes as they are packed with antioxidants and beta carotene. Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber and potassium, which plays an important role in reducing blood pressure.
Incorporate red foods like beetroot, not just because it’s Valentine’s, but also because they are good for your health. Beets can help protect healthy cells from the damage caused by free radicals, and can also help prevent cancer. Tip: cut them with a heart shaped cookie cutter.
Get cozy with cocoa and add a pinch of cinnamon and cayenne pepper to make a delicious cup of hot chocolate. Not only will cinnamon give it a nice flavor, it also plays an important role in lowering LDL cholesterol levels and increasing HDL levels.
Enjoy some wine. It won’t be a proper celebration without some red wine, but you’ll also be doing your hearts a favor (as long as you drink in moderation). Red wine contains resveratrol which helps boost blood flow and improves circulation.
Add pomegranate passion. Pomegranate seeds will make a lovely garnish to the dish you’re cooking, and it will contribute positively to your partner’s health as well as yours. Studies have shown that pomegranates have beneficial effects on several health conditions including cardiovascular disease as well as dental health.
Choose surf over turf. Go for a seafood dinner this Valentine’s day instead of the usual steak. Being a good source of omega 3 fatty acid, fish can play an important role on your mental health and improve your memory, so you don’t forget the beautiful moments you are spending with your loved one.
Since February is heart health awareness month there is no better time to start taking care of your health and heart as a couple.
Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian