Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate the people you love, but it’s also a time to be good to your heart! Most of us think of heart-shaped chocolates, homemade cookies, and other treats when we think of Valentine’s Day, but not every heart-shaped treat has to put heart health on the back burner. These chocolate, lemon and almond Wild Blueberry Energy Bars are delicious, filling, and perfectly themed for Valentine’s Day.
I’ve had a lot of practice making energy bars (my no-bake bites are a huge hit with my clients and family), and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to create a new heart-healthy recipe. Adding Wild Blueberries to any baked treat always adds the perfect amount of sweetness and moisture without relying on added sugar — and they’re a great source of heart healthy fiber and antioxidants.
Heart health is really important for everyone, and it is important to know that heart disease is not just a man’s disease. An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular disease, and 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke. There is good news, though: 80% of heart attack and stroke events can be prevented by lifestyle changes, such as consuming a heart-healthy diet.
Eating Wild Blueberries is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Why? Because they’re so rich in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are a group of antioxidants that provide many benefits to the heart — not to mention being responsible for the Wild Blueberry’s deep blue color.
Studies have shown that Wild Blueberry anthocyanins can help prevent lipid accumulation and improve vascular function – both of which play a major role in the development of cardiovascular disease. What’s more, high anthocyanin intake is associated with a reduced risk of heart attack in women and an increased antioxidant capacity. With an increased antioxidant capacity, your body is better able to protect against oxidative stress, which is a large contributor to cardiovascular disease.
With all of these heart health benefits, Wild Blueberries truly are the perfect food to incorporate into Valentine’s Day, a day that’s all about being good to your heart and to the ones you love! And these energy bars have you covered on both counts! They’re super simple to make. Just pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor and spread into a pan. Then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make heart-shaped bars for anyone you love. I’m wrapping these up for my mom, but they’re also the perfect Valentine’s Day treat to send to school with your kids – especially on a day you know will already be sweet enough.
Here’s the full recipe. Enjoy!