If you’re planning on wine and chocolate this Valentine’s Day, be sure to make the wine red and the chocolate dark. Red wine and dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher, in moderation, are good health choices for any special occasion because red wine and dark chocolate contain resveratrol, which has been found to lower blood sugar. Red wine is also a source of catechins, which may help improve HDL cholesterol.

Really show your love with heart-smart food all day long  … try these top heart foods!

  • Start your day off with oatmeal.  Oatmeal’s high fiber content will keep you full for hours.   Research indicates that oats lower cholesterol levels, keep you regular, and can help prevent certain cancers. The FDA even allows manufacturers of oats to make health claims that suggest that a diet high in oats can reduce the risk for heart disease!
  • Blueberries top the list as one of the most powerful superfoods. They contain anthocyanins, the flavanoids that give blueberries their dark blue color. Packed with fiber and vitamin C, they are available all year long. The news on blueberries keeps getting better. A U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist has found that they contain a compound that may be effective in lowering the bad forms of cholesterol!
  • Salmon is a great source of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association advises eating salmon and other omega-3 rich foods twice a week for benefits that go beyond heart health. Versatile and easy to cook, salmon is an American favorite. Those omega-3 fatty acids also help your brain work better and improve your memory, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting those important dates!
  • Spinach is a  powerhouse of the vegetable kingdom. Its rich, dark color comes from the multiple phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals (especially folate and iron) that also fight disease, protect against heart disease, and preserve your eyesight. Chocked full of lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber, spinach can help keep the ticker in top shape!

Keep your hearts beating … for many Valentine’s Days to come!