You’re probably familiar with conversation hearts, those heart-shaped candies that pop up each Valentine’s Day. But for Valentine’s Day this year, let’s talk about some treats for your actual heart.
Valentine’s Day this year will likely look different than other years, since we’re still taking precautions to stay safe from COVID-19. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, though—and give a dose of good health to your heart!
Leave love notes “for your heart health”.
When you think about Valentine’s Day, you may think of chocolate and roses…and maybe a decadent meal with the person you love. Believe it or not, those traditional treats can be heart-healthy, too:
Take time to smell the roses.
See, we told you! Whatever you do for Valentine’s Day, be sure it involves time to pause and relax. These days, our lives are often filled with stress. While a small amount of stress can be a positive, too much stress—or stress that becomes chronic—can wreak havoc on your heart health. Find healthy ways to manage your stress, such as meditation, yoga, or even simply sitting for a bit with your thoughts.
Enjoy some (active) quality time.
Make the most of a romantic day by heading out for a hike or cycling around a local park. Spending time with the person you love is always valuable. When you add physical activity into the mix, you get mood-boosting positive endorphins and a heart-pumping workout, too. Even putting on your favorite music and dancing around your living room counts!
Hit the sack earlier than normal.
Give your heart health the extra attention it deserves with a little extra sleep. Experts recommend that most adults get between seven and nine hours of quality sleep each night, but very few of us do. If you know you don’t, aim for an earlier bedtime! Your body will thank you when you wake more rested on Monday morning.
Indulge in a heart-healthy meal.
Believe it or not, “heart-healthy” does not equal flavorless! Trade out unhealthy additives like saturated fat, added sugar, and excess salt for flavor-packed foods such as fresh fruits, veggies, and lean proteins, such as fish. Spice them up with herbs and other seasonings that pack a healthy-for-you punch. You can even have the bread you love—just choose a whole grain version.
Bake up an antioxidant-filled dessert.
Yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too! You don’t have to deprive yourself to keep your heart healthy. Try a dessert that includes berries and a small amount of chocolate, both of which contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are small molecules found in the body that can help repair damaged cells, and they’ve been found to reduce the risk of heart disease. When it comes to chocolate, choose the darkest variety that’s palatable to you and eat only a small portion.
We Love Healthy Hearts
At Georgia Heart Institute, we recognize that long-term heart health takes dedication and by taking the time to connect with each patient, we’re able understand their unique needs and concerns. In addition to disease prevention and treatment, we work with you to provide specialized, whole-person care that ensures your heart stays at its healthiest – now and always. Find your partner in lasting heart health today!