Say 'I love you' with heart-healthy foods

Feb. 11, 2011 at 1:52 AM

MELROSE PARK, Ill., Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Valentine's Day is the perfect time to say "I love you" by providing your true love with heart-healthy foods, a U.S. registered dietitian says.

Susan Ofria, clinical nutrition manager at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill., says to keep your true love's heart beating strong, forget oysters and champagne because the real food of love is dark chocolate and red wine.

"Red wine and dark chocolate have positive components that are actually good for your heart," Ofria, a registered dietitian at the Loyola University Health System's Melrose Park campus, says in a statement.

Red wine and dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher contain resveratrol, which has been found to lower blood sugar. Red wine is also a source of catechins, which could help improve "good" cholesterol, Ofria says.

Other heart-healthy foods to add to a Valentine's Day menu are:

-- Salmon/tuna, which are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

-- Ground up flaxseeds, which provide a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, phytoestrogens.

-- Oatmeal, a good source of soluble fiber, niacin, folate and potassium.

-- Walnuts and almonds, which contain omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, heart favorable mono-and polyunsaturated fats.

-- Blueberries/cranberries/raspberries/strawberries have beta carotene, lutein, anthocyanin, ellagic acid -- a polyphenol -- vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber.

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