Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate our loved ones with chocolate, candy, and cheesy cards, but it also falls in the middle of American Heart Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease. In America, heart disease remains the number one cause of death and nearly one in three people have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. Lifestyle habits, including diet and physical activity, are an important part of any plan to achieve and maintain heart health.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan includes 2 to 3 daily servings of dairy foods and 8 to 10 daily servings of fruit and vegetables. Why dairy? Dairy foods play a key role in DASH because they contain calcium, potassium, and magnesium — minerals that help to maintain healthy blood pressure aka protect your heart!
Check out these recipe ideas perfect for Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month. Make for loved ones or treat yourself.
Roses are red, violets are blue, cozy up with this latte or enjoy it iced too. Link to recipe.
Start your day off right by treating yourself and your honey with this easy breakfast panini. The combination of fruit, whole grains, and healthy fats pairs perfectly with a glass of nutrient-rich milk. Link to recipe.
These adorable yogurt cups from blogger Katie Webster (Healthy Seasonal Recipes) are sure to appeal to kids and adults alike. Just like milk, a serving of yogurt provides key nutrients such as calcium, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Yogurt can be a great dairy option for those that have lactose intolerance because its live and active cultures help with digestion and it naturally has less lactose per serving than milk. Link to recipe.
Images and recipe from Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Sweetheart Strawberries for you and your sweetheart! Keep their heart healthy with yogurt, antioxidant-rich strawberries, and dark chocolate. Link to recipe.
Cheese is such a versatile food, no wonder it pairs perfectly with chocolate! Our friends at Cabot Creamery put their taste buds to the test and developed a list of all-star combinations. Looking to lower the sodium in your diet? Try: Swiss, Monterey Jack, ricotta, port de salut or parmesan (1 Tbsp). Also try lower sodium varieties of Colby-Jack, provolone, muenster, mozzarella or cheddar. Link to pairings.
Image and paring ideas from Cabot Creamery
Have more questions on dairy’s role in heart health? Visit New England Dairy’s Dairy and Heart Health page to learn more.