How to Treat your Heart this Valentine’s Day

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Love is definitely in the air. Suddenly we’re seeing red roses, fluffy teddy bears and the smell of chocolate popping up from all angles, which can only mean one thing...

At defibshop, there are various feelings towards Valentine’s Day, some love to hit the town and celebrate single life, whereas others are quite content simply staying at home, eating the tray of chocolates their other halves got them. But with this in mind, have you considered how your plans can affect your heart health?

As our Valentine’s gift to you, we’re sharing how you can be kind to your other half and equally as kind to your all important heart this Valentine’s Day.

Wine and Dine

Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to go out with your other half for that indulgent meal you’ve dropped countless hints, post-it notes and carrier pigeons about.  But before you go the whole hog on your fancy feast, it’s important that you make good choices for you and your heart health.

Admittedly, it’s easy to do; ordering more than you usually do seems like the norm when celebrating, there are two of you; surely you’ll finish it all! But are all these extra sides’ good choices for you, and your Valentine?

It’s important that when you go out, you make good choices for yourself and moderate the amounts of sugary and fatty foods you eat and drinks you choose. A treat here and there won’t go amiss, but being mindful about what you’re eating really can help keep your heart at its best by lowering blood pressure and keeping your cholesterol levels in check.

Also, when dining out on Valentine’s Day, a spot of wine would probably be on the menu for you both too. Surprisingly, red wine has been reported as beneficial to the heart as it contains resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant which protects your arteries and the heart against the effects of saturated fat.

Whilst these effects of red wine look promising, it’s important to remember to drink in moderation as over drinking can lead to liver damage, high blood pressure and significant weight gain.

Romantic Stroll

Maybe going out for a romantic dinner isn’t your thing and you’re more of a “sit-on-the-couch-and-snuggle-up” kind of pair. But after the movie has finished, why not head on out for a nice romantic sunset stroll? The nights are finally starting to draw out meaning it’s getting lighter and lighter every day; take advantage of this with your other half and head on out to stretch your legs.

Walking is classed as a moderate form of exercise and you’d be surprised at just how positive an impact walking can have on your heart. Depending upon your weight, a 30-minute walk can burn anything from 90-360 calories. Even if it’s just a casual stroll with your Valentine, you could both burn off a small portion of your Valentine’s Day dinner.

Walking can significantly reduce the chance of a heart attack as well as keep your cholesterol levels in check. Regular walking can also lead to a lower blood pressure, weight loss and leave you in an even happier mood than you already were on February 14th.

Double Date

It’s probably no surprise when we say having friends is good for you, but were you aware that by surrounding yourself with friends, you’re also doing your heart a favour?

A study from the University of Maryland Medical Centre discovered that laughter has a notably positive effect on the lining of your blood vessels. The laughter causes the blood vessels to dilate which increases the blood flow throughout your body.

“Just 20 seconds of laughing gives the heart the same beneficial workout as three minutes of hard rowing,” – Tanya Abreu, PhD.

As well as laughing along with your other half and friends, having friends has been known to relive stress. Stress is a clear risk for heart disease but having a circle of friends to support you helps diffuse the emotions and clear up any anxiety you may be feeling.

Go For Green and Blacks

The shelves in the local supermarkets are filled to the brim with chocolates and other various goodies to surprise your other half with for February 14th.

The assortment of chocolate boxes as you walk into your local shop are difficult to bypass; seemingly there is always no-one there apart from yourself, gawking at the selection. But we may have some news which might turn your head.

Dark chocolate that’s 70% cocoa, such as Green and Blacks, can be very beneficial to the heart. Who would have thought a bar of dark chocolate here and there could have positive effects on your heart? One of the flavanols in the chocolate sends signals to the arteries, allowing them to relax and increase blood flow and therefore reduce blood pressure.

Also, eating a moderated amount of dark chocolate in line with a healthy balanced diet and moderate exercise can reduce your risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). Because the compounds in the chocolate are protective against oxidation of bad (LDL) cholesterol, this causes much less cholesterol to build up and lodge in the arteries and you may see a lower risk of heart disease.

Valentine’s Plans

So there you have it, just some of the ways you can mindfully improve your heart health this February 14th. Maybe your plans will change after you’ve read this and you’ll be more mindful not only for you, but for your Valentine too.

Drop us a line in the comment section about your heart healthy Valentine’s plans or, alternatively, join in the Valentine’s Day conversation on Twitter and Tweet us @defibshop to tell us how you plan to spend Valentine’s Day and spread the hearty love on February 14th.

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