Valentine’s Day is a chance for us to show love to those who matter most. Why not show a little extra love with some gifts to benefit your loved one’s heart health?
The stores are filled with red and pink goodies—cakes and cookies, boxes of chocolate paired with wines—all designed to bring joy and love. But those items also have something else in common: They contain a ton of sugar!
And while natural sugar can be found in fruits and some dairy products, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how much added sugar you’re including in your diet.
Most Americans get way more sugar each day than what’s recommended. In fact, on average, we consume 77 grams of sugar per day, when we actually need to limit our intake to 25 grams or less.
The good news is: There are lots of gift ideas that can not only make your loved one smile, but also benefit his or her heart.
5 Valentines for Your Valentine’s Heart Health
Wracking your brain for ideas? Let’s look at some truly heart-healthy options that will do the heart good:
- A pedometer or fitness tracking device. Staying physically active is an important way to maintain good heart health. Does your loved one have a watch that can track his or her steps? Options are available from a basic step tracker to watches that track heart rate, nutrition, workouts and even sleep. Pick one that your loved one would enjoy—with technology that won’t be too overwhelming!
- A fitness class pass. Let your loved one try a new fitness class, something that he or she would enjoy. A pass will let your valentine try it out, but not be tied to a fitness club membership if he or she won’t use it. This is a great strategy, because ultimately, we’re much more likely to stick with exercise routines that we enjoy. Sometimes it takes experimenting with multiple types of classes or exercises before we land on the right one.
- A gift certificate for a massage. Stress and burnout are becoming more and more common among Americans. And excess stress is a risk factor for heart health issues like heart disease. While stress is a fact of life, it’s important to find healthy ways to manage the stress we deal with on a daily basis. A massage can be a healthy way for your loved one to reduce stress in his or her body. Let your valentine pick the type of massage he or she is most comfortable with and the one that will offer the most benefits.
- A healthy cooking class. Most of us get stuck in a rut when it comes to the foods we cook, preparing the same meals over and over again. And often, those meals aren’t the healthiest options. Help your loved one learn how to prepare healthy meals packed with flavor. There are options for virtual or in-person classes, and they are often offered for individuals, couples and groups.
- A basket of gourmet fruit or a box of vegetables. Did you know that experts recommend filling half your plate at meals with fruits and veggies? So give the gift of fresh produce! A basket of healthy fruit is so much healthier than a box of chocolates, or you could also give a subscription for local produce delivery boxes. These boxes usually come weekly or monthly, and they can expose your loved one to new and delicious options to liven up meals cooked at home. Fresh fruits and vegetables will help your loved one eat healthier and feel better.
Valentine’s Day is about so much more than sugar. It’s time to show your valentine that you truly care, giving the gift of something to do his or her heart some good!
Looking for other ways to benefit your family’s heart health? The Prevention Center of Georgia Heart Institute specializes in providing key resources and services to keep your heart at its healthiest.