By Jessica Domel

February holds a special place in my heart. Not because of Valentine’s Day, but because of Heart Health Month.

Heart disease runs in my family. And my father was just hospitalized for a heart-related issue. Sitting in the emergency room with him was a wake-up call for me, and for my family.

My dad is a farmer and is active almost every day of the week. So why were we in the emergency room waiting for tests to be run on his heart? There were several issues. Genetics definitely played a role.

But the surprise came as the cardiologist told me my dad didn’t need to drastically change his diet.

For the most part, he was eating fine.

It surprised me. We eat a lot of meat and potatoes at the farm–mainly to keep up energy levels for the amount of work that needs to be done.

We also enjoy a good hamburger every once in a while.

The good news is beef can be a part of a heart healthy diet.

A three-ounce serving of lean beef only has about 150 calories.

And it’s an excellent source of protein, zinc and other essential nutrients.

I, for one, was thrilled to hear it. My dad needs the protein beef provides to keep up his energy levels throughout the day.

Coffee can only take you so far.

I turned to the Texas Beef Council for tips on how to include beef in his heart healthy diet. They’ve got a great array of information and recipes.

So this month, because someone I love is living his heart healthy diet, I’m loving my heart. And Texas beef.