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The heart has become an iconic symbol the world over, representing the core of our being, our passion, and the love we feel for others. So it’s fitting that Heart Health Month in February is shared with Valentine’s Day, the day we fete our loved ones with the equally iconic red roses and chocolate. While flowers and candy universally say “I love you,” Heart Health Month is a perfect reminder that the best gift to our loved ones is a healthy heart and body.

That’s why this month’s ONE Toolkit is an affair of the heart. Whether you’re a health professional or health-conscious individual, our Heart Healthy Toolkit is full of research on heart-healthy foods, cooking tips and recipes, a heart-healthy quiz, and additional resources that will help you show some love to your heart, and to your loved ones hearts too. See the complete Heart Healthy Toolkit here.

Here are our top three heart-healthy tips from the Toolkit:

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1. Eat garlic to lower your blood pressure, and lower your salt intake to decrease your risk of hypertension and heart disease.

2. Healthy doesn’t mean bland. Try searing, roasting, or pan-frying to build your flavor foundation. And don’t be shy with herbs and spices.

3. Eat breakfast to start your day off right and to reduce your risk of coronary disease.

Want more? Check out the complete Heart Healthy Toolkit, available for free download here.

And here are more ways for you and your loved ones to celebrate a heart-healthy February:

4. Buy pedometers for you and your partner, or download a fitness app, and don your walking shoes. Setting (and keeping) a weekly outing to walk and talk together is a wonderful opportunity to stay connected while adding physical activity to your routine, both which are good for you.

5. Enjoy laughing together. Humor is good for your heart and can help relieve stress. Enjoy a comedic film at home or attend a funny play or comedy club show. Life itself offers us enough reasons to chuckle throughout the day, so take a deep breath and enjoy it.

6. Take turns cooking for each other and your family. The Mediterranean Diet offers plenty of heart-healthy, family-pleasing meals. Our Med Diet shopping and cooking resources are a great place to start.

7. Set a monthly date for an intimate, candlelit meal with your significant other, either at home or at a restaurant. If the babysitter cancels, this is one of those moments that you can laugh about — after all, the kids may enjoy eating by candlelight too.

8. Be a role model and supporter for each other. If you have children, show them by example how to develop healthy eating and lifestyle habits that will serve them well throughout their lifetime.

9. Make a date with your doctor for an annual checkup — for both you and your partner. After your appointments, take time to thank each other for caring for yourselves and for each other, and then celebrate in that special way that only you and your partner know how.

Cheers to a Happy Valentine’s Day and your happy heart!

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