Heart Matters: February 2011

February is American Heart Month, American History Month and Black History Month, Children’s Dental Health Month, National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Snack Food Month, National Wild Bird Feeding Month, and Responsible Pet Owners’ Month—-in case you were asking!  Obviously, the one that I seem to focus on most is in the health field: American Heart Mâ¥nth.

However, I am also interested in the other food topics in this list and hope to touch on them as well. As for Wild Bird Feeding Month, I actually do have something for that, which is a picture of the parrot I fed pineapple while vacationing in Costa Rica last week. The guide told us it is the only bird that uses its claw as a hand to feed itself.

One of the books I read while on vacation was Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I loved the format of a novel in a short story form. The last page about love when we’re older seems fitting for February and Valentine’s Day, so I plan to review that this month. (Also, Valentine’s Day is used as Eve Ensler’s day for focusing on violence against women. More on that….)

As for Kitchen Nutrition with Recipes, I came across an article on the Internet called The 10 Best Foods for Your Heart (www.health.com). Here is the list: Oatmeal, Salmon, Avocado, Olive Oil, Nuts, Berries, Legumes (beans & peas), Flaxseed,  Soy and Spinach. I plan to include as many of them as I can in Recipes or Health Flashes, especially legumes, since winter is a good time for beans. I will also use berries in my green smoothies, even though they are not in season. They are too good for you and too good tasting to avoid.

Note: The photo on the right, from the Internet, is actually a picture of Alaskan wild berries.

Of course, heart ⥠health is too important not too address, especially in women after menopause, so I will search through my files and in magazines and the ‘Net to see if there is anything new in the area of heart health for women. Here is just one tidbit www.bing.com/health:

A heart-healthy diet focuses on adding more healthy foods to your diet and cutting back on foods that are not so good for you.

Angiogram of a healthy heart (National Geographic on the web)

This advice matches the heart-healthy diet recommended by the American Heart Association. Healthy foods are ones that are high in  vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients, such as:

  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Beans (including chickpeas and lentils) and whole grains (such as whole wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, bulgur, barley, quinoa, and corn). Note: My Three Bean Soup posted at the end of January is perfect for this category.)
  • Oily fish like salmon, trout, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, and sardines, which contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. You can also get omega-3 fats from omega-3 eggs, walnuts, flax seeds, and canola oil.  ( I am not a big fan of canola oil because of my own research, so I don’t use it and you won’t find it in the recipes. When I do a piece on healthy fats, I will share this information.)

As you can see, they are congruent with the 10 best foods for your heart, listed above. Perhaps I will do a heart healthy digest of all the information I can gather this month. But February is a short month, so I better get workin’!

Finally, I would like to do a feature article on Costa Rica, because in that country every day is Earth Day. And even though Earth Day is not until April, this information is too important not too share while it is fresh in my mind. Below is a photo of my husband and me enjoying lunch al fresco in the tropical rain forest next to the beach and right below the restaurant and our room. It is truly a garden paradise!

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