February is National Heart Month. Makes sense, right? Valentines. Hearts. Duh.
But today, February 3rd is National Wear Red Day. Are you wearing red today to show some love in honor of women’s heart health?
Did you know that heart disease is the number 1 killer of women causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That means women like your mother, sister, aunt, BFF are dying at a rate of 1 each minute.
In the past 2 weeks, I have had 2 friends have heart attacks. They are 34 and 41 years old. They are vibrant, beautiful women. They are mothers, sisters, daughters, friends. Because of quick response and projects like Go Red for Women, they are both still here and are doing extremely well.
Throughout the month, and in honor of the women I love and have lost to heart disease, I’m going to be keeping it heart healthy. Don’t think that means boring or tasteless either.
Take these delicious dark chocolate dipped strawberries for instance. These are “Oh my God” good and easy to boot. Oh yeah, and good for your ticker.
Strawberries. Their heart shape is the first clue these babies are good for you. They protect your heart, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and guard against cancer. They are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols. They are also sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in calories. These pretty little berries are packed with antioxidants and are a good source of manganese and potassium. Just one serving — about eight strawberries — provides more vitamin C than an orange.
Dark Chocolate. I always buy Dove Dark Chocolate. Did you know that this particular brand contains more Epicatechin than other brands of dark chocolate. Epicatechin is a very active flavonoid which helps to keep cholesterol from gathering in blood vessels, reduce the risk of blood clots, and slow down the immune responses that lead to clogged arteries. Remember portion control though, chocolate is still high in calories.
Walnuts. These nuts contain fiber, along with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and phytosterols, which seem to decrease blood cholesterol.
Put these three ingredients together and you have powerhouse sweet treat you can feel good about eating.
Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Dove Dark Chocolate Squares
Walnuts, finely crushed
There are really no measurements here. Make a couple for yourself or a whole bunch for a gang (if you can share). If making them for yourself, just remember portion sizes. One serving of Dove chocolate is 5 pieces.
Cover a baking sheet with waxed paper.
Put crushed walnuts in a shallow dish.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted.
Cut the bottom tip off each berry so it stands up.
Dip the berry into the melted chocolate then coat with crushed walnuts. Put in the refrigerator until chocolate has hardened.