The homemade Valentine that slashes heart risk in half

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day again. So what better time to give my readers a tip from the heart, right?

Okay, okay. Enough with the shameless puns. But seriously, this research is just too perfect-and important-not to share with you today.

It’s based on data from the Spanish PREDIMED trial. (The same large trial I’ve mentioned before, which was designed to identify the disease-preventing benefits of the Mediterranean diet.)

Researchers compared the polyphenol intakes of over 7,000 subjects. And after just over four years of follow-up, they noticed a powerful trend. Patients with the highest average polyphenol intakes (over 1,100 mg per day) had a 46 percent lower risk of heart disease than subjects with the lowest polyphenol intakes (averaging around 562 mg per day).

That’s a profound level of cardiovascular protection. And all you have to do is fill up on the right food. (Green tea, berries, and dark chocolate are all incredible sources of polyphenols.)

Which brings me to the real reason I mention this to you today: If you really want to treat your sweetheart, skip the flowers this Valentine’s Day. And serve up some homemade chocolate-covered strawberries instead (homemade using 100-percent pure cacao and sweetened with stevia, of course).

“Inverse association between habitual polyphenol intake and incidence of cardiovascular events in the PREDIMED study.” Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2013.12.014