While boxes of decadent chocolates, celebratory champagne, and romantic high-calorie dinners may dance in your mind as a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, your heart may be pining for something else. Valentine’s Day is a great day to look at the state of your heart.
“Despite recent progress, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States,” said Dr. Sheila Sahni, intervention cardiology fellow at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Health Program. “Making heart-healthy lifestyle choices and taking control of your cardiovascular risk factors can help prevent or slow the progression of heart disease.”
Every day decisions are important to cardiovascular health, she adds, and Valentine’s Day is a good time to give yourself the gift of lifestyle changes that will benefit you through the year. Check out these tips.
Ten Heart Healthy Tips for Valentine’s Day and Beyond:
1. Stay active: The key to heart health is to keep moving and avoid being sedentary. Ideally, aim to get your heart rate up with at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days a week. However, any movement will be good for your heart so keep moving and stay active.
2. Limit your consumption of red meat, sugar, and unhealthy fats. There are plenty of foods you can eat instead to enjoy a heart-healthy diet. Add fruits and vegetables to your diet to increase your fiber consumption.
3. Reduce your salt intake. Can’t imagine your favorite foods without that added salt? Over time, however, you can re-train your taste buds to become accustomed to a lower-sodium diet and you will start to notice subtle flavors in your foods again.