Warm Chili - Warm Heart

Happy Valentine weekend!  Hopefully you and your honey are snuggled up and keeping each other warm as the temperature dips ridiculously low for those of us in the Northeastern part of the county.  Maybe you’ve got romantic dinner plans at a cozy restaurant or are heading out to catch some music and dance the night away.  That sounds great!  But for me, when it’s this cold and snowy out, I’d rather stay in, put on some fuzzy socks, and wrap my hands around a warm, comforting bowl of chili.

Here is one of my favorite heart-healthy recipes, which is perfect for the occasion.  I absolutely love this warm, spicy vegetarian Sweet Potato and Black Bean chili.  It is so easy to make and not only warms your heart, but will keep it healthy as well. 

The sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin A which promotes immune health, and fiber and potassium for digestive health.  Dietary fiber and vitamin A maintain good cholesterol levels in the blood and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.  Sweet potatoes also contribute to strong bones, healthy skin and eyes, and improved energy. 

The black beans are loaded with fiber for cardio vascular and digestive health and can help lower cholesterol.  They also have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.  The tomatoes are rich in lycopene which helps to decrease the risk of heart disease, macular degeneration, and certain types of cancer.  Finally - I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this chili also reduces stress because it makes you feel so darn cozy.  This chili will warm and protect your heart.

Don’t worry.  I didn’t forget.  I know, it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without desert.  Finish off your heart-healthy dinner with a little piece of chocolate.  Just make sure it is dark chocolate with 70-85% cacao.  Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which help protect against cell damage.  It also has potassium which can help to lower blood pressure, and magnesium which helps to maintain steady heart rhythm.  And we all know what chocolate can do for your mood!

I hope the love in your heart is keeping you warm and happy on this frosty Valentine’s weekend.  If not, I’m pretty sure this meal will.