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Valentine's Gifts for Healthy Heart

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Chocolate and candies might be dominating the gift section of most stores this Valentine’s Day. However, if you really care about your beloved, do you really want them to binge on processed foods and sugar? Not to set you off the holiday mood, but heart diseases are the second most common cause of deaths in Canada, and diet is a key factor. We sincerely hope that this article might add to this year's Valentine's  gift ideas that will be of a prolonged benefit to your special other.  First comes the general advice: eat fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, opt for lean sources of protein, reduce sodium and avoid trans fats. Now let’s turn to some particular foods that may make a difference.
 
Olive oil
A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is considered a healthy dietary fat. The types of fatty acids it contains lower total cholesterol, as well as can support blood sugar control. Gifting a bottle of this goodness is one great way of saying I love you. When shopping, go for extra virgin olive oil for most benefits. 
 
Walnuts
 
Just like other nuts, these are packed with protein and fibres. However, walnuts are definitely special. It’s the only nut that’s composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids (straight forward healthy fat that every body needs), plus it’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acid. The accompanying vitamin E helps form hemoglobin – that’s the cells that carry oxygen to the heart.  
 
Oats
 Oatmeal doesn’t sound remotely romantic. That’s until we found out it’s another anti-cholesterol warrior. It’s the fibers in it that do the work and one cup a day will keep the doctor away. By the way, we're not necessarily suggesting you buy a bag of oats and stuff it into a heart-shaped box. Why not simply start the day with a breakfast oatmeal in bed!
 
Dark Chocolate
 
Finally! We didn’t want to discourage you completely. Raw cocoa – the source of chocolate – is rich in flavanols which can help with your blood pressure and prevent blood clots. So the less processed the chocolate is, the more benefits you are likely to get out of it. Go for raw cacao nibs or minimally processed cocoa powder. 70% organic chocolate will also do. Try these organic raw cacao nibs that are unsweetened and full of healthy flavonols to keep your heart beating healthy and happy.  

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