Monday, February 14, 2011

Keep Your Heart Healthy this Valentine's Day

It's finally upon us. Yes, Valentine's Day, the often overdone, pink heart sprinkled, candy-coated day we celebrate love and indulgence is here. Roses are overpriced and cards have pictures of puppies and hearts on them, but today is equally about food as it is about kind gestures. Love and food go hand in hand, haven't you noticed? And what better way to show someone you love them than by treating them to a delicious meal, perhaps paired with a glass of wine?

Even though Valentine's day is synonymous with indulgence, it doesn't mean that you have to blow your entire diet in one singular day. There are plenty of healthy, romantic options available for today and for the entire month of February, as it's Hearth month! Your valentine's staples, in moderation, including chocolate and wine can actually be quite healthy for your heart (coincidence? I think not!). In addition, seafood and fresh fruit make regular appearances at the dinner table on this day of love, and we already know how good those foods are for us.

To keep the mood (and the calories) light this Valentine's day, go ahead and order those oysters but skip the added calories from any heavy sauces. Try opting for a seafood dish that has been grilled or poached and be sure to load up on the veggies and whole grains alongside your protein. For dessert, strawberries are an obvious choice, and for less than 150 calories a pound, you can put away the whole clamshell of strawberries guilt-free!

As for the chocolate and vino, you will need to exercise a little bit of control, but small amounts are quite good for you. Ladies, stick to one glass, and men - two glasses are perfect to keep your hearts healthy. With chocolate, go for the dark kind, and one square is all you need to keep your ticker beating strong. Try melting it down and dipping your strawberries in it! It can be easy to go overboard with the wine and chocolates, especially when celebrating, but remember that going over those amounts eliminates the benefits to your heart and actually does quite the opposite.

Once in a while, however, we all indulge, and it's no reason to beat yourself up. Just pick yourself up tomorrow and make up for it! Get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, hit the gym and eat light. You'll be feeling great again in no time.