Most people don’t need an excuse to party, but in case you need an official reason to celebrate, February doesn’t disappoint. Sure, there’s the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, but we’ve also got Groundhog Day and President’s Day, and – in case you didn’t mark your calendars – February is also National Heart Health Month. You probably don’t want to celebrate this holiday with pizza and buffalo wings – so instead, why not show everyone that you’ve got a heart of gold by preparing a delicious heart-healthy meal?
First – make a toast to your good health with a glass of champagne. Not only is champagne festive, but a glass of bubbly is heart-healthy, too. Like wine, champagne is rich in polyphenols – naturally-occurring compounds found in grapes that help to increase blood flow and decrease blood pressure.
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If you’re resolving to eat more whole grains in the New Year, a good place to start might be with some whole grain pasta. In the past, our main decision in buying pasta was shape – did we want sinewy strands, or curly corkscrews? Nowadays, we’ve got delicious whole wheat pastas or noodles with spinach or tomato added, and we’ve got pasta made with rice, corn or quinoa. So how do these different noodles stack up?
Most people buy regular pasta – it’s made from a type of high-protein wheat – durum or semolina – that gives pasta its characteristic yellow hue. A serving – which is defined on the package as 2 ounces of dry pasta (about a cup cooked, depending on the shape) -– has about 200 calories, a trace of fat, about 2 grams of fiber and around 40 grams of carbohydrate. Not a bad deal, but if you switch to whole wheat pasta, you’ll save about 20 calories and more than triple your fiber per serving. That’s a great deal, nutritionally speaking. And those numbers look more impressive when you consider what people typically eat – not one cup of cooked pasta, but more like three.
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