3 desserts to make your heart smile

Health & Fitness

This story is brought to you by Grand Peaks Medical and Dental, a multi-specialty, nonprofit, Community Health Center in St. Anthony and Rexburg.

Valentine’s Day may be the most talked about thing in February, but did you know February is also American Heart Month and National Dental Health Month?

Although those two things may seem unrelated, in a 2012 study The American Heart Association found cardiovascular conditions like clogged arteries and stroke have been linked to inflammation caused by oral bacteria.

Your oral health can actually show warning signs of heart disease along with many other health conditions.

February may invoke thoughts of gorging on chocolates and other decadent sweets, but you won’t miss anything with these health-conscious desserts. Click on the names of the dishes for the full recipes.

1. Angel Food Cake with Fruit Salsa

Recent studies, including one at Harvard Health, show a diet high in sugar can raise blood pressure, while also causing the liver to dump more harmful fats into the bloodstream – both big factors in heart disease.

This fresh and flavorful dessert is low calorie, fat-free, and keeps the sugar to a minimum.

As a bonus, you can use any fruits you want!

2. Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

When LDL cholesterol levels become too high in your bloodstream, it can build up in your arteries. Over time this can cause blockages, which can put you at risk for heart attack or stroke.

Replacing whole eggs for egg whites reduces cholesterol intake in this rich, choco-peanut butter confection, while the fat-free dairy products keep the fat under control.

Colgate Oral Health recommends brushing after meals, or rinsing your mouth with water if you can’t brush immediately to help neutralize the acids formed after eating sugary treats.

3. Heart Healthy Fruit Crisp

Many seeds offer heart-healthy fats and fiber, according to the American Heart Association, including the chia seeds that act as a thickener in this better-for-you version of fruit crisp.

Honey replaces the sugar to sweeten it up. Plus, eating oats has been proven to help lower cholesterol in some patients.

And better news, since this dish is filled with fresh fruits, it may be OK to eat it before dinner! Eating dessert first may actually help keep some acid from forming on your teeth since your meal helps wash them away.

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