Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart Healthy Start

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day has a reputation for sweets, chocolate and more sweets. 

And while I'm all for receiving boxes of chocolates (hint, hint) here is an awesome way to start off your V-Day with a heart healthy bang... and yes, chocolate is involved. 

Valentine's Day Strawberry Banana Oatmeal
In the Mix...
  • 1/3 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • 4 strawberries, chopped
  • cinnamon to taste 
On Top...
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • sprinkle of kashi cereal (just for some added crunch)
  • Valentine's Day special toppings
I throw my oatmeal, liquids and chopped banana in the saucepan all at once and let it all cook together. This gives the oatmeal a natural sweet taste from the banana without having to add any extra sugar, and also gives it it a creamy texture. 
Okay, now that I have you all wishing you had this for breakfast, here are the heart healthy benefits of this lovely little Valentine's Day treat I enjoyed this morning:
  • Oatmeal. Full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich superfood can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear. 
  • Strawberries. Full of anti-inflammatories, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. 
  • Soy. May lower cholesterol, and since it is low in saturated fat, it's still a great source of lean protein in a heart-healthy diet. 
  • Almonds. Help lower cholesterol. They pack more fiber and calcium than any other nut, are lower-cal than most other varieties, and are an excellent source of vitamin E.
  • **Dark Chocolate. The cocoa ingredient may lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels while preventing diabetes and improving the health of blood vessels.
  • CinnamonCinnamon may help stabilize blood sugar by helping insulin work better. 
Oh! And what would breakfast be without an ***appropriate amount of coffee!
I have to give thanks to my mom for my 2011 Valentine's Day mug. Hi Mom!
The caffeine in coffee can speed up metabolism and fat-burning, which helps lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. And black coffee is one of the lowest-calorie drink choices around.
I'll cheers to that!

Hope everyone has a good, healthy and fun Valentine's Day!

Stay Healthy,

  • **Dark Chocolate. As much as I would LOVE to say eat as much dark chocolate as you want to, I can't. Chocolate should be consumed in moderation and infrequently. The little Dove heart seen in my oatmeal above is plenty for the day. Proceed with caution....
  • ***Coffee. Limit your intake to 2 cups a day. People with high blood pressure, who are sensitive to caffeine or have high anxiety might want to consider skipping the morning cup of joe. 
blog content taken from health.com

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