February: A Month of Hearts

A Month of Hearts

Thumbnail image by 165106 from Pixabay

By Rebecca Fending 

Each February is coated in heart-shaped everything. From sweaters to chocolates and everything in between, this month is defined by those colorful little doodles.  

However, this month isn’t just about the cartoon version of what beats in our chests—it’s also American Heart Month. With that comes increased awareness of what you can do to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.  

Managing Your Heart Health

Each February, The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) celebrates by encouraging Americans to adopt healthy lifestyle choices that benefit overall cardiovascular health and fight against heart disease. As heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, preventative care is crucial for staving off an untimely ending due to the disease. Not only does caring for your ticker prevent cardiovascular disease, but it can also improve your immune system and decrease your risk of stroke or dementia.  

The NHLBI encourages us to opt for heart-healthy practices this month. According to Harvard Health, a 10-minute walk in the morning is a great way to improve your heart health. A short walk helps to get both blood and oxygen flowing through the body, not only helping your heart but boosting your mood! 

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

Possibly the easiest way to help your heart is through breathing slowly and deeply for a few minutes each day. This helps lower blood pressure and allows your muscles to relax. This practice is especially great to do right before bed as a way to wind down from the day while also easing your body into rest.  

Adding more nuts such as walnuts, almonds and peanuts to your diet can also help your heart. Nuts have a high protein content, vitamin E, fiber and omega-3 acids, which help lower your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides. Below is a recipe for two that includes almonds and salmon, both high in omega-3 fatty acids to benefit heart health. You can adjust the recipe to your tastes, including swapping out the fish or kind of nut.  

Have a great month, and we’ll see you in March! 

Image from Food52

Almond-Crusted Salmon 

  • 2, 6-oz. salmon portions 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste 

For the breading: 

  • ⅓ cup almonds, finely crushed 
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  1. Carefully mix all breading ingredients together on a plate and set aside.  
  1. Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water in a bowl and set aside.  
  1. Heat a pan on medium heat. Add olive oil to the pan.  
  1. Dip the salmon fillets into the egg, then the breading. Pat to coat fully.  
  1. Place fillets in the hot pan, cooking on each side for 3 minutes or until cooked through.  
  1. Serve immediately and drizzle with fresh lemon juice. Enjoy with baked veggies or a fresh salad to make it a balanced meal!