February — the Month of Love

 

I have lots of fun for Valentine’s Day.  We buy valentines for each of our 27 grandchildren and one baby great-granddaughter, put a few little pieces of chocolate in each one, get them hand-cancelled at the post office, and then think happy thoughts of them opening with some glee this year’s version of a now 24 year tradition.  It’s a bit of a production, (Hallmark LOVES to see us coming!), but I keep doing it.  It seems like a precious little gesture for our long distance relationships.

It’s the  month for love.  However we do it, we take Valentine’s Day as the opportunity to show love to others.  What would it be like if we took the rest of February to love ourselves a little more than we do. — gave more heart to our own hearts, as it were? In the spirit of self love and heart health, I offer you a list of 5 foods that will keep your pulsing heart as healthy as can be! 
1.  Berries.  According to a study published in the American Journal of clinical Nutrition, eating a cup of mixed berries daily is associated with increased levels of our “good HDL” and lowered blood pressure.
2.  Raisins.  Raisins have been shown to fight the type of bacteria that can cause gum disease.  If you are wondering what gum disease may have to do with heart health, they are, in fact very closely related.  People with gum disease are twice as likely  to suffer from heart ailments.
3.  Mung Beans.  Sprouting mung beans is easy, inexpensive, and a big nutritional payoff.  These crunchy nuggets contain soluble fiber which helps to keep cholesterol at bay. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and keeps it from being absorbed in the gut.  Mung bean sprouts also have a number of heart protecting nutrients, including flavonoids, which help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.
 
4.  Apples.  You’ve heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and it may be true!   It was found in a Finnish research study that people who eat apples frequently had the lowest risk of suffering strokes in comparison to non-apple eaters.  Apples are also very rich in soluble fiber.
5.  Chocolate!  Research suggests that cocoa, (especially raw cacao) may help lower blood pressure, mostly because of its high magnesium content.  It also has a nitric oxide boosting compound epicatechin, which is crucial for healthy blood vessels.  Chocolate lovers, rejoice!  Enjoy this sweet treat, and remember to enjoy it in moderation, and go for the dark chocolate, 70% cocoa, or raw cacao, or higher.  Milk chocolate does not have such benefits.
This is the month that people take time to show love to those who are special to them.  Do remember to take some time to show yourself some TLC, too!  Start with one piece of dark chocolate in honor of your healthy heart, and follow up with some of these suggested foods, and a wide variety of whole fresh raw and living foods.

There are related articles, great recipes, and more in the Abundant Raw Life February Newsletter.  Go to www.janesmith-healthcoaching.com to sign up, or email me at abundantrawlife@gmail.com  It’s free!

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