The first Valentine was sent in the 15th century — 1415, to be exact — so we’ve had some time to perfect this day devoted to the ones we love. Gone are the days of lavishing your sweetheart with sugar-filled junk food. Nourishment, care and time well spent might just be the key to a healthy heart.
Hugging, laughing, being positive and expressing gratitude can all help make your heart stronger . Even the simple act of reducing stress can improve your heart health. So follow your heart and lower your stress levels by planning ahead this Valentine’s Day.
It is American Heart Month , after all, and people 65 and older are more likely to suffer from heart disease than any other age group. Because aging can change the way your heart and blood vessels function, it’s important to choose healthy treats when celebrating with your Valentine.
Heart Healthy Treats
You’ve probably heard that dark chocolate is a solid option for heart health, but do you know why? Dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate, and it’s full of flavonols, which can help lower blood pressure and prevent blood clotting or blood vessel inflammation.
If you’re gifting an edible Valentine this year, choosing dark chocolate along with some fresh fruit can be a healthy alternative to other sugar-filled candy treats. The antioxidants in fruits like blueberries, strawberries, oranges and bananas may help lower your blood pressure.
Wine and Dine
Valentine’s Day might be the perfect excuse to overindulge in heavy foods and alcoholic beverages, but look at it as just another chance for you and your love to make a good heart healthy choice.
When the sommelier comes by, choose red wine , with antioxidant-rich flavonoids that help raise good cholesterol levels and prevent blood clotting. The AHA recommends one to two drinks per day for men and one for women.
For dinner, order the fish . Salmon, tuna and even sardines are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to a number of heart health statistics — like lower levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, cardiovascular events and arrhythmias. Other heart healthy foods include:
Leafy green vegetables, like spinach or kale
Walnuts and almonds
Take a Stroll
Simply spending time with your Valentine could be just the treat you need. In fact, physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week reduces your risk of heart disease.
A walk around the neighborhood or a couples yoga session can get your heart pumping and reduce your stress levels. Staying fit is important to your health – learn the best workout routines for older adults.
Finally, never underestimate the power of love . By surrounding yourself with the ones you love, you’re already making heart healthy decisions and actively lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Senior Healthcare Direct!
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above is meant to be strictly educational and not intended to provide medical advice or solicit the sales of an insurance product or service of any kind.