Skincare Tips

The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Dinner

Valentine’s Day is another holiday in which our usual dietary decency flies out the window as we indulge in sugary candies, rich desserts and fine champagne. This romantic dinner for two will satisfy the senses without sacrifice. These recipes not only feature heart-healthy foods that nourish the body and spirit while setting the mood for a lovely evening, but also because they possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help protect the body, brain and skin from the effects of aging. 

Romantic black couple preparing healthy meal together

Almond-Encrusted Wild Salmon Fillets on a Bed of Wilted Greens 

Parsley and Saffron-Scented Oat Pilaf 

Cabernet Sauvignon 

Extra-Dark Chocolate with Blueberries 

Green Tea 


Wild Salmon: 

One of the world’s most heart-healthy sources of protein. Rich in long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids (the most beneficial kind) which protect the heart, inhibit inflammation, act as natural antidepressants, increase feelings of well-being and help keep skin young, supple and radiant. 


Oat Pilaf is a delightful way to enjoy the benefits of complex carbohydrates in an extraordinarily healthful whole grain, which provides sustained energy and stimulates the release of serotonin, a key neurotransmitter that can lift mood and cut carbohydrate cravings. Oats are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that protect against heart disease, cancers, diabetes and a whole host of diseases. 

Dark green leafy vegetables


Dark leafy greens are rich in the antioxidant plant pigments known as carotenoids, which enhance immune system response, protect skin cells against UV radiation and spare liver enzymes that neutralize carcinogens and other toxins. Their important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects reduce the risk of heart disease, block sunlight-induced inflammation in the skin (which leads to wrinkles and potentially skin cancer), protect the eyes (especially the lutein found in spinach and kale) and may even play a role in the prevention of cataracts. 

Red Wine: 

Cabernet Sauvignon contains a powerful heart-healthy, anti-cancer, anti-aging antioxidant called resveratrol. It also appears that resveratrol helps protect the skin against the sun’s UV radiation. Many studies suggest that moderate alcohol drinking helps to reduce the likelihood of heart disease. But it seems that wine – particularly red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon – provides the benefit of interfering with the production of a chemical vital to the process that leads to clogged arteries and an increased risk of heart attack. White wine and Rosé unfortunately do not offer the same protection. 

Cutting Chocolate Chunks

Extra-Dark Chocolate: 

Especially that containing 70 percent cocoa solids or more is uniquely high in potent flavan-3-ols antioxidants. In fact, cocoa contains double the flavan-3-ols antioxidant content of red wine and five times that of green tea. Chocolate is also a source of several mood-elevating constituents, including tryptophan (precursor to serotonin),  anandamide (a natural brain chemical very similar to the cannabinoids in marijuana),  theobromine (milder cousin to caffeine), phenylthylamine and magnesium. While the amounts of each of these potentially mood-elevating components appear too small to affect most people’s mood significantly, the combination can and does produce feelings of elation, even ecstasy in some individuals. 

Green Tea: 

Enjoy a cup of green tea after your meal and don’t worry about the caffeine since a compound in green tea called theonine blocks the negative effects of caffeine while acting as a natural mood elevator and promoting feelings of well being. Because green tea is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, it can help fight inflammation and age-accelerating free radicals, protect against heart disease and cancer, boost the body’s natural defenses and exert antiviral and antibacterial effects. 

pink salmon with a slice of lemon

Almond-Encrusted Wild Salmon Fillets 

Hazelnuts, walnuts or sunflower seeds may be used in place of almonds in this delicious, heart-healthy recipe. 


  • ½ cup coarsely ground almonds
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated organic lemon zest (use organic lemons; non-organic lemon rind is treated with fungicide)  
  • Dash of sea salt and fresh pepper
  • Two 6-ounce (185-g) wild salmon skinless fillets
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups mixed organic baby greens (arugula/rocket, mesclun, spinach, etc.)
  • Lemon wedges


1. Grind the almonds in a coffee grinder or food processor—do not overgrind and turn them into a paste.

2. Mix ground almonds, parsley, grated lemon zest, salt, and pepper on a plate.

3. Dry the salmon; dredge salmon on both sides in the almond mixture.  

4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

5. Add the salmon and cook about 5 minutes on each side, making sure that the salmon is cooked through.

6. Arrange 1 cup of greens—such as spinach, or a mix of greens such as baby lettuce, arugula/rocket, turnip or mustard greens, herbs, endive, and escarole—on each of 2 plates.

7. Transfer the hot salmon fillets to plates.

8. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.

Savory Homemade Rice Pilaf

Parsley and Saffron-Scented Oat Pilaf 


Serves 4 

  • 2 cups (500 ml) water or soup stock
  • a pinch of saffron, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup whole oat groats, rinsed (they look like brown rice and are
  • available at natural-food stores)
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 stalks fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan or Romano cheese (if possible, use imported cheese and grate it yourself for superior flavor)
  • Freshly grated black pepper to taste


1. Boil 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) of water or stock and pour over saffron. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the garlic and onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the oats and stir to coat all the grains. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Add the remaining 11⁄2 cups (375 ml)of water or stock to the oats; add saffron mixture and bring to a boil.

5. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.

6. Remove rosemary leaves from stalk and coarsely chop. Discard stalk. Coarsely chop parsley leaves.

7. Remove the pot cover, fluff the oats with a fork, fold in the rosemary and the parsley, and serve immediately.

8. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and with black pepper. We prefer imported Parmigiano Reggiano for superior flavor.




Writer and expert