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January 30, 2013

Keep Your Heart Healthy this Valentine's Day

February is National Heart Month, and Valentine’s Day is a great time to start taking steps to be heart healthy. Regardless of your age, keeping your heart healthy is important for good overall health.

In the United States, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and one in every three deaths is caused by heart attack or stroke. Instead of celebrating this Valentine’s Day with sweets and chocolates, you and your valentine can promote heart health by getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in trans-fat and sodium, and by knowing your ABCS:
  • Ask your doctor if you should take an Aspirin every day 
  • Find out if you have high Blood pressure or Cholesterol, if so get treated 
  • If you Smoke, get help to quit 
To get you started, try this Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili for your romantic Valentine’s dinner, we guarantee you and your sweetie will love it!

Serves: 4 


1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chiles
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups water
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
4 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle and salt and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the sweet potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

2. Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Information adopted from CDC:

Janell Walker, RD, LDN, Nutrition Services Manager

Janell is a registered dietitian and has been with Food & Friends for 3 years. She is a graduate of University of Maryland, College Park and a native of the DC metropolitan area. Janell enjoys cooking, dancing and educating people about the importance of food and nutrition. Learn more about Food & Friends' nutrition services.

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