Don’t get your heart broken this Valentine’s Day

Don’t get your heart broken this Valentine’s Day

11 February 2016

Press Release

Valentine’s Day is once again upon us and the British Dietetic Association (BDA) is issuing some key advice to prevent your heart from being broken this year.

The BDA, founded in 1936, is the professional association and trade union for registered dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 8,500 members.

“Eating healthily is one of the important ways that you can look after your heart,” said British Dietetic Association spokesperson and Dietitian, Anna Daniels. “A heart-healthy diet works in a number of ways. For example, it may help reduce cholesterol levels, prevent excessive blood clotting and lower blood pressure. Below are some ways that you can enjoy the Valentine’s celebrations whilst improving your heart health.”

Serve up a taste of the Med this Valentine’s Day

“Wondering how to spoil your loved one this Valentine’s Day or maybe even treating a close friend or relative? You might not be able to whisk them away to the Mediterranean, but how about cooking a beautiful Mediterranean inspired meal that will not only taste good, but also 'do you good'!

“Many studies over the years have reported that following a Mediterranean diet may decrease cardiovascular disease. In 2015 a meta-analysis (Grosso et al, 2015) reviewed 17 studies and found that individuals that adhered to a Mediterranean diet had a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and mortality.  

“The Mediterranean diet is rich in monounsaturated fats such as those found in olive oil. These oils are known to increase your levels of good HDL cholesterol. Choose extra virgin olive oil which has a rich profile of polyphenols – these are antioxidants that fight ‘free radicals’ in your body (the nasties that can cause cancer).

“The diet is also rich in vegetables and fruits, ensuring meals are based around vegetables and eating some meat and fish in moderation. In the Mediterranean, they eat bread and pasta but not in huge quantities, so be sure to include these foods as part of your diet, which will also add to your fibre intake, but always stick to the correct portion size. Also try to reduce processed food consumption by avoiding sugary drinks and foods that contain saturated fats like those found in animal products, crisps, cakes, butter and ghee.  

What does a healthy Valentine’s Day dinner look like?

“Why not try some baked oily fish rich in omega-3 fats that benefit the heart, you could try salmon or mackerel. This topped with sautéed tomatoes that are cooked with garlic and extra virgin olive oil – cooking tomatoes increases the lycopene content, another powerful antioxidant. Try serving it up with a side of wilted spinach and pasta cooked al dente (ensuring its glycaemic index stays low) or wholemeal pasta if you are feeling extra virtuous. If you want to have a glass of red wine (seen as it is Valentine’s Day after all), you can do so in moderation. Red wine actually forms part of the Mediterranean diet and has some cardio protective properties, just remember to stick to the recommended alcohol intake guidelines.

“Then perhaps take your loved one for a walk after dinner. Although the UK may lack the sunshine that some other Mediterranean countries have, put on a warm jacket and get some fresh air. As on top of a heart healthy diet, exercise will do you and your heart the world of good! Ensuring you and your loved one get to spend as much of your life time together in good health.”

For more information on heart health, view our FREE Heart Health Food Fact Sheet:

Healthy Valentine’s Day recipe:

Salmon with Rainbow Rocket Salad for two

Salmon and sauce:

Ingredients: 2 x 125g portions salmon, 50g cherry tomatoes, garlic, drizzle extra virgin olive oil.

Instructions: Season salmon with salt and pepper and oven bake for approximately 18 minutes on 180 degrees, or until cooked through. Sautée garlic with extra virgin olive oil, add cherry tomatoes and sautée for 3-5 minutes until soft.

For the Salad:

Ingredients: 50g cous cous, vegetable stock, 1 lemon juiced, 1 clove garlic crushed, extra virgin olive oil (drizzled), 100g rocket, 50g cherry tomatoes diced, 40g goats cheese, 1/4 red onion finely chopped, handful radishes quartered, 1/2 diced avocado.

Instructions: Cook the cous cous as per packet instructions using vegetable stock to flavour. Once the cous cous has cooled, add in all the remaining salad ingredients, including the lemon, garlic and olive oil, and season with pepper. Top with the salmon and tomatoe mixture & serve with slices of lemon - enjoy!


For more information/interview requests, please contact the BDA Press Office on:

0800 048 1714



Grosso, G., Marventano, S., Yang, J., Micek, A., Pajak, A., Scalfi, L., Galvano, F., Kales, S. (2015) A Comprehensive Meta-analysis on Evidence of Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Disease: Are Individual Components Equal? Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2015 Nov 3:0.


Notes to the Editor:

  • Visit the BDA website at
  • Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
  • Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be statutorily regulated, and governed by an ethical code, to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Dietitians work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, Non-Government Organisations and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government, local communities and individuals.
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