This year the Texas
Heart Institute is offering a few heart-healthy alternatives to the typical
Valentine's Day delectables and activities.
Chef Amanda DeJesus, a heart transplant patient who is working on a cookbook of heart-healthy recipes, shares two of her creations with Dr. Deborah Meyers.
What To Bake
For those who bake, try these healthier versions of chocolate fudge cake and strawberry short cake —these recipes are lower in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sugar. Remember to watch your serving size!
1 cup whole wheat flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, place chocolate, butter, and brown sugar stir frequently until almost completely melted.
Remove from heat, and stir until completely melted; let cool slightly.
With a mixer on low put chocolate mixture and egg until well blended. Gradually add in flour mixture (dough will form a ball).
dough in half; roll out each half on a sheet of parchment paper to a
1/2 inch thickness. Transfer each half (still on paper) to a baking
sheet; freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with one half at a time, flip dough onto a work surface; peel off paper.
Using a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies; place, 1/2 inch apart, on two baking sheets.
Bake until firm and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.
12 wonton wrappers
2 teaspoons canola oil
10 oz raspberry purée or raspberry preserve
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup strawberries (sliced)
2/3 cup blueberries
1/4 teaspoon confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place wonton wrappers in a single layer on a large baking pan. Brush both sides of each wrapper with the oil.
Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let the wrappers cool for 10 minutes.
Put raspberry purée or preserve and sugar in sauce pan over medium until warm and sugar is dissolved.
Place 1 wonton wrapper on each plate. Sprinkle some strawberries and
blueberries over each wonton wrapper. Then drizzle 1 teaspoon of
Repeat with another layer of wonton wrappers and
some more strawberries & blueberries. Drizzle another teaspoon of
Top each with last wonton wrapper.
Sprinkle tops with the confectioners' sugar.
Other Treats To Eat
Choose dark chocolates – Due to their concentration of antioxidants
and flavonoids, these
bittersweet treats in moderation may help reduce stroke and heat attack risk.
Drink red wine (in moderation) – The alcohol and antioxidants in red wine may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of "good" cholesterol and protecting against artery damage.
Give fruit instead of candy – Fruit is a sweet,
low-calorie alternative to candy, and a recent study found that blueberries and
strawberries reduce heart attack risk in women who consume them every week.
fun, new activity, and maybe even burn some calories while you're at it!
Ballroom dancing lessons – In a recent study, people with heart failure who took up waltzing improved their breathing, were able to exercise longer and generally felt better.
Yoga or pilates classes – Yoga and pilates do not count as aerobic activities, but they have been shown to lower blood pressure, increase lung capacity, boost circulation, and improve heart rate.
Ice-skating – It is one of the best aerobic activities there is, without having to pound the pavement.
Golf or tennis – Tennis is fun for two and a great source of aerobic activity. To make golf good for your heart, skip the golf cart and walk the course.
A bike ride – Biking has been shown to
decrease the risk of coronary heart disease and improve cardiovascular fitness.
Go for a walk (hand-in-hand) – Walking is a low-impact workout that has been shown to support weight loss, help tune the cardiovascular system, and reduce stress.
Get a massage – Beyond pure relaxation, massage
has been shown to decrease pain, improve mood, and help manage
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide
educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of
cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific
medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better
understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice
will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for
diagnosis and for answers to your questions.