Celebrating Valentine’s Day Is Good for Your Heart

Whether you’re with your loved ones or not, Valentine’s Day might be one of the heart healthiest holidays to celebrate! And, it falls right in the middle of American Heart Month. We’re taking a look at why Valantine’s Day is so good for the heart and how you can celebrate in a way that boosts your health!

While chocolate isn’t a health food, it does have benefits. The box of chocolates you give or receive may aid heart health. Cocoa flavonoids may protect arteries and prevent plaque buildup in blood vessels. They can also lower LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol, and that’s great. But beware, sugar can undo the health benefits, and dark chocolate has much higher levels of flavonoids than milk.

A shared glass of red wine may also aid heart health. Flavonoids from the skin of the grapes can help cholesterol and prevent blood clots. “Alcohol has a blood-thinning effect, and that was what was found to be effective against stroke and heart disease,” said Cynthia Sass, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

However, studies on the benefits of wine and other alcohol are always controversial. Alcohol can make harmful compounds in your body and damage your liver. You shouldn’t drink in excess or begin drinking, hoping for health benefits.

In addition to anything you might eat or drink, love and affection can also do the heart good! Studies about love, be it romantic, familial or friendship, have found it causes excellent physical health benefits. Love lengthens life, lowers your risk for disease and your levels of stress hormones. It boosts the number of antibodies in your body and protects you from heart disease by reducing plaque buildup. Physical contact can lower blood pressure while increasing feelings of wellbeing and comfort.

It seems like now’s a good time to revamp the stay-at-home date nights with cooking a meal together, rather than going out to a restaurant, where you’re potentially exposed to more people,” said Maya Vadiveloo, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition and food sciences at the Univ. of Rhode Island. “If normally you would have gone to some exclusive restaurant, you can potentially cook one of those meals together at home and still set the mood” with flowers and candles.

If you’re worried about a last-minute gift for Valentine’s Day, stop stressing out! Time spent together can be excellent in and of itself. This year, you might not be about to go to the place you love to celebrate, but you can have a homecooked meal. Or have a long phone call if you don’t live together. The point of a gift on Valentine’s Day is to show someone you are thinking of them. Another great, last-minute idea is to search for a poem that makes you think of them and write it in a card. And, of course, there’s always dancing. You might be dancing at home this year, but dancing with a partner is a great way to show your love and get some exercise!

Banner image: freestocks via Unsplash
February 12, 2021

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