10 Heart Healthy Tips Just in Time for Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate those close to your heart—and it’s also a great time to establish healthy living habits that support heart health. If you’re considering adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, now’s the time to make positive changes. Whether you’re celebrating the holiday alone or with loved ones, try these ten Valentine’s Day health tips from MD Now that will help protect your heart year-round.
1. Get Active
Spending time with your loved one this Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean waiting in long lines at restaurants. Instead, plan an activity that involves physical fitness, such as a romantic walk through a local park or a game of tennis. Not only will you spend quality time together, you’ll also burn some extra calories. Make this “exercise date” a regular part of your weekly schedule to receive additional benefits.
2. Prepare a Special Meal
Cooking for yourself is a great way to ensure that each meal is nutritious and promotes heart health. Treat yourself or your loved ones to a heart-healthy meal that incorporates lean meats or fatty fish, vegetables, and fruits. Cook the foods in healthy oils like avocado, olive, and flaxseed.
3. Share an Entrée
If you’re planning to dine out for Valentine’s Day, practice healthy eating habits to protect your heart. Many restaurants offer servings that are large enough for two people, and some entrées are laden with saturated fat and calories. One of the top health tips is to have the server divide the main course in half. You can also skip the bread basket; instead, opt for a side salad or cup of vegetable-based soup.
4. Limit Alcohol Use
Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of long-term health problems, including cancer and heart disease. If you choose to drink this Valentine’s Day, do so in moderation. As part of a healthy lifestyle, women should consume no more than one drink each day, while men can consume two. Red wine is a great choice, as it contains high levels of flavonoids. These antioxidants support healthy cholesterol levels and promote heart health.
5. Offer Healthy Snacks to Kids
It’s never too early to establish a healthy lifestyle, so don’t forget to include your children when practicing good habits. If your kids are celebrating Valentine’s Day at school, consider sending raisins, pretzels, or non-food treats like stickers and crayons instead of candy.
6. Practice Portion Control
Received a tempting box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day? You can enjoy them without sacrificing your healthy living habits. Stick boxes of chocolate in the freezer to be enjoyed in moderation over the next several weeks. You won’t feel deprived, so you’ll be more likely to stick to your healthy eating plan.
7. Give a Permanent Gift
Rather than giving out chocolates or candies this Valentine’s Day, consider a gift that will last forever. Write your loved one a romantic poem, or gift him or her a special framed photo of the two of you. Kids can get involved, too—have them create homemade Valentines for family and friends. The best part? These thoughtful gifts are calorie-free.
8. Spice Things Up with a Cooking Class
Feeling adventurous? Try a cooking class at a local facility, where you can sharpen your vegetable-chopping skills and learn the proper uses for heart-healthy spices like cayenne pepper, basil, and curry powder. As a healthy eating bonus, choose a class that incorporates local produce or other heart-healthy foods.
9. Lower Stress Levels
Reducing stress is an important part of healthy living. This Valentine’s Day, practice self-care by scheduling social time with a friend, taking a relaxing bubble bath, or even getting in a brisk walk. Simply taking 30 minutes for yourself each day can improve your mood and help you feel recharged.
10. Give Back to the Community
Looking for a unique date idea? Ask your sweetheart to volunteer with you at a local charity. Volunteering offers several health benefits, including boosting your mood and lowering stress. Plus, you’ll be helping those in need enjoy a better Valentine’s Day.
Protect your heart by trying these simple health tips this Valentine’s Day. Remember, a strong support system is key when making healthy lifestyle changes. Tell your loved ones how much you care, and share ways that you can all improve your health and well-being.
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