Love your heart!

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February brings Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love (and chocolate, of course). February is also Heart Month in Canada. So, although I am all for the occasional chocolate indulgence, I would like to remind you of ways you can love your heart – now and all year round. 

Your heart is a muscle and a very important one!  Your heart gets energy from blood carrying oxygen and nutrients. Many people think heart disease is one condition where, in fact, heart disease is a group of conditions affecting the structure and functions of the heart. Coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease.  It occurs when blood vessels in your heart become narrow and oxygen-rich blood is prevented from reaching your heart. It can cause chest pain or a heart attack.

Taking care of your heart is not difficult but it may take some work if you are not already leading a heart-healthy lifestyle. As you read through the list below, make note of the things you already do and the things you don’t.  All of the points listed below are things you can do to help lower your risk of developing heart disease. If you have room for improvement, celebrate Heart Month by showing yours a little more love. Who knows, when February is through you may have developed a new healthy habit.

– Get moving! Aim for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week, in amounts of 10 minutes or more at one time.

– Choose whole grains most often. Look for claims such as “made with 100% whole grains.” Aim for a healthy waist measurement (less than 40 inches for men, less than 35 inches for women). Measure your waist around the level top of your hip bones. Your total weight is not as important as how your weight is distributed. Excess weight around your stomach area is a risk factor for heart disease. 

– Consume fish containing omega-3 fat (such as herring, mackerel, sardines, salmon and trout) at least twice a week. Include plant source of omega-3 fats such as flax and walnuts.

– Eat at least three servings of fruit and four of vegetables each day. Examples of one serving are a medium-size piece of fruit, half-cup of cooked vegetables, or one cup of raw leafy greens.

– Be mindful of your sodium intake. Aim to choose foods that provide less than 300mg of sodium per serving.

Motivated to learn more about your risk?  At the DRUGStore pharmacy in the New Glasgow Atlantic Superstore you can speak to the pharmacy manager, Linda, and her team. They can complete a complimentary Blood Pressure Check and a Cardiovascular Risk Assessment for you. No appointment is necessary. Let them help you!

Finally, here is a wonderful recipe that takes minutes to prepare and an easy way to increase those heart healthy omega-3 fats!

Broiled Spicy Maple Salmon Fillets


1 tsp (5 mL) PC Splendido Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Cold Pressed

2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped ginger root

2 tsp (10 mL) PC Memories of Thailand Fiery Chilli Pepper Sauce

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/3 cup (75 mL)  PC 100% Pure Maple Syrup

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper

4 skinless salmon fillets (about 6 oz / 180 g each)

Instructions In frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat; cook ginger and garlic for 1 minute, stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in maple syrup, Thai sauce, salt and pepper. Preheat broiler. Place fillets on oiled rack of broiler pan. Divide sauce among fillets, brushing thickly over top and sides. Broil salmon 4 inches (10 cm) under broiler element for 10 minutes per inch thickness (5 to 7 minutes per cm thickness) or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutrition information per serving: 400 calories, fat 20 g, sodium 320 mg, carbohydrate 21 g, fibre 0 g, protein 34 g 

Recipe source


Anne Marie Armstrong, BscAHN, PDt is a registered dietitian with Atlantic Superstores in Nova Scotia. 

Have a nutrition question?  Contact me by calling 1-888-225-5295 ext. 632157 or through email at

Organizations: Olive Oil, PC 100

Geographic location: Canada, Nova Scotia

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