It's February and hearts are EVERYWHERE. If you didn't get your fix on Valentine's Day, you can celebrate all month long because February is Heart Health Month! 

Why is Heart Health Month Important?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. One-in-four deaths are caused by heart disease. That is a scary statistic, but the good news is that heart disease can be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices.

1. Physical Activity

Get active!  Regular physical activity lowers your risk for heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity five days a week plus two days of muscle strengthening activity per week.

Whether you are a workout feign or just bought your first pair of sneakers today, any kind of physical activity will improve your heart health. A simple way to start is with a walking program. Not so into exercise? Check out the AHA's 5 steps to Loving Exercise...Or At Least Not Hating It.

2. Stress Management

Stress can lead to a variety of health issues, so it is very important to understand what stress does to your body and how to manage it. Exercising, a healthy diet, not smoking and positivity are four major ways to deal with stress. Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about maintaining health stress levels. Getting enough sleep is also an important factor in fighting stress.

3. Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy eating habits are the best ways to keep your heart (and body) healthy. Maintaing healthy levels of physical activity and stress management will support healthy eating habits as well. If you are following the recommended exercise guidelines each week, you can maintain your weight by burning as many calories as you are consuming.

Keeping your stress levels low will ensure that stress eating does not derail your healthy food choices. The AHA recommends you eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups, avoid nutrient-poor foods and base your eating patterns on these recommendations.

Note* Steel cut oats are a great heart-healthy addition to any diet. The soluble fiber that SCOs contain can help reduce cholesterol! Keep reading for heart-healthy recipes!


Cooking Light's Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Pecan Cookies

Photo Via  Cooking Light

Photo Via Cooking Light

You'll need

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1 cup regular oats
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate minichips

Get the whole recipe here!

AHA's Skillet Ham Hash

You'll need

2 tsp. olive oil
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup diced, lower-sodium, low-fat diced ham (about 4 ounces), all visible fat discarded
3 cups frozen, fat-free southern-style diced hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/2 tsp. salt-free Cajun or Creole seasoning blend
2 Tbsp. chopped, fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Get the whole recipe here!

Food Network's Hearty Vegetarian Pasta

You'll Need

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 bunch broccolini (about 10 ounces), stems cut into 2-inch stems, and florets
1 medium bunch radishes, trimmed and very thinly sliced
12 ounces whole-wheat rigatoni
1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Get the whole recipe here!

Want to understand how to be more mindful about the ways your heart is affected by your lifestyle? Check out this guide: How to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease!

What are your favorite heart healthy recipes? Comment below or tweet us at @Grainful!