6 heart-healthy Valentine’s Day desserts

(upwave.com)Emotionally, hearts are so darn vulnerable. They break from sorrow, burst with joy and occasionally grow three sizes in one day (if you’re a Grinch, anyway).

Physically, they are just as prone to damage. And yet on Valentine’s Day, a holiday dedicated to matters of this most vital organ, we splurge on sweets loaded with unhealthy fats, sugar and cholesterol.

    This year, turn over a new leaf: Keep both your ticker and your tummy happy by diving into light, nutritious and oh-so-delicious Valentine’s Day desserts.

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    Dry those eyes! A breakup with moist, decadent cupcakes is not in your future, thanks to this heart-healthy recipe. Precious few ingredients — many of which are probably in your pantry already — are required. Vitamin- and fiber-richcanned pumpkin, which enhances flavor and texture and offers protection against heart disease, serves as an excellent substitute for butter or oil. Egg whites replace whole eggs to keep cholesterol levels in check. And the crowning glory? Flavonoid-rich cocoa and low-fat cottage cheese (don’t knock it till you try it!) form a low-fat, low-calorie yet creamy frosting that’s sure to woo your sweetie.

    Mini CheesecakesfromHungry & Fit

    When made with regular cream cheese, cheesecake can serve up an off-the-charts amount of fat and calories. This version calls for Greek cream cheese and Greek yogurt, which dramatically reduce the health-busting components (while doubling the protein). Plus, these itty-bitty cakes are adorable and can be topped with antioxidant-rich berries to enhance flavor, nutritionandpresentation. In a word? Love!

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    Raspberry-Coconut MoussefromAlmost Skinny Vegan Food

    This delightfully creamy mousse is the perfect closer to any Valentine’s Day meal. As an added bonus, it’s simple to make, leaving more time and energy for… um, more important things (wink, wink). Heart-friendly raspberries add flavor and tons of nutrients, and tofu delivers extra dietary oomph: It’s rich inalpha-linolenic acid, anomega-3 that’s believed to greatly benefit people who have heart disease (or are at risk of developing it). For extra health benefits, toss in somechopped nutsand add the fiber, unsaturated fats and vitamin E that make them heart superstars.

    Kale BrowniesfromChocolate-Covered Katie

    This unexpected dessert is packed with taste bud-satisfying yet heart-healthy ingredients. The standout element, of course, is kale, which is commonly hailed as a superfood. In terms of cardiac health,kalehelps regulate cholesterol and reduce heart-disease risk, thanks to its many vitamins and minerals. This particular recipe also incorporatesground flax, which studies have linked to optimal heart health. Sure, the recipe sounds a little wild and crazy — but you only get one heart.

    This article was originally published on upwave.com.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/14/health/upwave-heart-desserts/index.html