Nurturing Your Heart Health this Valentine’s Day
With heart-shaped candy and cards surrounding you as Valentine’s Day approaches, you might be thinking about some healthier options for celebrating this year. While decadent dinners and oversized boxes of candy may have some appeal, you might add some new excitement to Valentine’s Day this year with some heart-conscious ideas to show your love.
Get creative with healthy date ideas
• Spend the day outdoors – With Valentine’s Day on a Saturday this year, you might have the whole day to spend with your significant other. You can take advantage of the day and give your heart some much needed exercise by taking your date outdoors for a hike or some couples’ ice skating. For a more unique spin on Valentine’s Day exercise, you might take a yoga class, go dancing, or rent a tandem bike and take a ride.
• Cook a healthy dinner at home – Dining out on Valentine’s Day can be a headache, so skip the dinner out and cook something at home. When you do your own holiday cooking, you can create a mood of intimate romance at the table and enjoy a meal that is much less heavy than the typical set-menu Valentine’s fare of the average restaurant. Some heart-healthy dinner choices may include roasted chicken, grilled fish, or even lean cuts of beef like filet mignon. No matter what you choose as your main course, make sure that you have plenty of fresh vegetables to serve on the side. Strawberries and Champagne can be the perfect dessert to follow—saving you from eating too much sugar and fat.
• Enjoy a smooch session – Kissing your special someone on Valentine’s Day may not be anything new, but did you know that kissing actually has a number of health benefits? When you kiss someone you love, your brain releases chemicals that promote happy feelings to help you relax and de-stress. Plus, kissing (and only kissing) triggers feelings of closeness and excitement that will keep you in a festive mood for the most romantic holiday of the year.
Avoid sweet treats and make your own gifts
It may be tradition to send heart-shaped boxes of candy to your significant other, but a much more thoughtful gift may be one you’ve made yourself. Even something as simple as a homemade card can be a gift to treasure for years to come. If you can’t resist the sweeter things, you might indulge in pure dark chocolate, which has plenty of antioxidants and less sugar than milk chocolate, so it is kinder to your heart. You might also consider getting in the kitchen to whip up a healthy treat for your sweetheart like oatmeal cookies, which can be beneficial for lowering high cholesterol thanks to the presence of delicious whole grains. Another alternative to common candy selections might be a fruit bouquet, which is still a sweet treat, but it’s one with plenty of added nutritional value.
Another important step in caring for your heart any time of year is checking in with your doctor for a clinical look at your cardiac health. While you schedule a doctor’s visit for yourself, schedule an appointment for your sweetheart too so that you can enjoy more healthy years together!