I'm super excited to introduce Noor Ashouri, one of my students who is working with me on FFP this semester. She is awesome in many ways, but particularly is very interested, and talented, in health writing. Here is her first piece. Be on the lookout for more great content in the coming months thanks to the help of Noor. Enjoy! - Jenna
Ah, February, the month of love. All the emphasis on romance can lead to an important February event getting swept under the rug: American Heart Month.
Our hearts work hard for us, so it’s only fitting we dedicate a month to heart healthiness. In honor of American Heart Month, here are five foods your heart will thank you for in the future.
1.Cup of Joe
The number of Starbucks transactions on my credit card bill is a bit worrisome, but evidence suggests I’m only thinking of my long-term health (not the sweet taste or addicting aroma). Moderate coffee consumption can reduce the risk of heart failure by 11 percent.The key word here is moderation: two cups of coffee.
Cinnamon has been going strong since 2000 BC in Ancient Egypt when it was used to treat sore throats and coughing, according to Medical News Today. Cinnamon’s aroma is enough to win anyone over, but in case you needed another reason, up to six grams of cinnamon a day can lower cholesterol in type II diabetes patients. Lower cholesterol means lower chance of heart disease.
3. Roses are red...and so are apples
It’s hard not to throw in the cliché, but it’s true, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Once again our parents knew best. Consuming apples has been shown to decrease cholesterol from building up of plaque in the arteries, lowering the chances of a heart attack.
4. Sweet Tooth: Dark Chocolate
I endorse any evidence of chocolate being good for us. I mean, let’s be real, we already know it’s good for us on an emotional level. Dark chocolate containing antioxidants was shown to decrease blood pressure. That’s one less risk factor for heart disease to worry about.
5. The American Heart Association says go nuts
Most nuts contain a handful of heart-healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber. A study found nut-eaters were less likely to die of causes like heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease during the study by 20 percent.
Personally, I’m never one to give up the festivities of Valentine’s Day. Any holiday with an emphasis on food is a keeper. My day will consist of a box (more likely, boxes) of chocolate, endless amounts of heart-shaped cookies and a lot of chick-flick reruns. I’ll remember to incorporate something heart-healthy as well. Dark chocolate with peanuts? I think yes.
Meet Noor: Noor Ashouri is a nutrition student at the University of North Florida who loves writing, laughing and food (and doesn’t object to all three occurring at the same time). Noor believes food should be a celebration, not a guilt-trip, and no one should ever feel bad about the second slice of pie. She likes to order caramel iced coffee with skim milk and light ice when she goes to Starbucks and hopes to do this in as many countries as possible.