Valentine’s Day is traditionally all about finding your way to someone else’s heart. You might put some crosses in a card and send it off anonymously; get up early to place a big bunch of flowers in a tall, patterned vase, or prepare a lovely meal for just the two of you.
But what about your own heart? Isn’t it about time you channelled some of that love to this vital organ? After all, the heart is not only a place for Cupid’s arrow to hit; it’s also your lifeblood. High cholesterol is one of the risk factors in the development of coronary heart disease. So if you have a high cholesterol keeping your cholesterol levels in check, is a good way to start taking care of your heart.
If you’re serving up that special meal, make some heart-friendly changes to what you cook. Romance doesn’t have to be all about foie gras and caviar. Start by serving Crab Linguine with zesty chilli and lemon, and zinging fresh parsley. This delicious mix of pasta and subtle-flavoured seafood is light and easy to make, leaving you free to concentrate on the next course.
That dish to follow is Mackerel and Moroccan spices, an exotic flavour infusion that helps to lower your cholesterol. You can pre-marinade the fish, leaving 15–20 minutes cooking time and then as much as you need to enjoy a low-cholesterol treat. A subtle scent of aromatic spices will fill your kitchen!
The next day you can share a bowl of your favourite cereal and handful of berries plus a cool glass of milk poured over. Or opt for Flora ProActiv spread on warm toasted wholemeal bread, served with an apple on the side, for a quick and light breakfast. Flora ProActiv foods contain plant sterols*, which naturally occur in small quantities in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, grains, fruit, and vegetables. You can also find them (in greater concentrations) in Flora ProActiv products.
There are plenty more delicious recipes on the Flora ProActiv recipe page – check out these cholesterol-lowering options. Or treat yourself to a crab or spiced mackerel dish almost year-round. Seafood is a good source of protein, and oily fish delivers favourable unsaturated fat, which can help reduce cholesterol levels when replacing saturated fats as part of a healthy, balanced diet. This balance is achieved by consuming a healthy balanced diet, including wholegrains, fruit and vegetables, lean meat, poultry & fish, nuts, low-fat dairy, plant oils and spreads.
However, a loving approach to your heart isn’t just about lowering your cholesterol and a healthy diet. An effective heart-healthy regime should be supported by activity, even if it’s gentle in scope. A little stretching or cardiovascular work can be taken to fit in with your lifestyle. Start by getting off the bus a stop early when you’re on the way to work or to meet friends. Or park your car a little further away than normal and walk the difference. You might even find a space easier to come by! Make sure you commit to a fairly regular routine.
You could increase the workout to include some light jogging, or even a gentle game of badminton or tennis at your local sports club. Just remember to warm up carefully – it’s vital to prepare your muscles, even if you’re playing indoor sports. This goes for the colder months especially and if you don’t fancy braving the elements, you can extend the stretching into a short indoor workout.
Don’t forget time spent in rest or relaxation too, in between an exercise regime that suits you and a balanced diet with cholesterol-lowering Flora ProActiv. Just remember: love is in the air – and it’s also meant for your heart!