Valentine's Day is the time to show your loved ones you care about them. Traditional ways of doing this include fancy gourmet dinners, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, flowers and other gifts. This year, why not show your loved ones that you also care about their heart health? In addition to the month that represents Cupid's big day, February is also American Heart Month.
The CDC recommends that you pay special attention to your heart health not only this month, but all year round by following these tips:
Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health. It's important to schedule regular check-ups even if you think you are not sick. Partner with your doctor and health care team to set goals for improving your heart health, and don't be afraid to ask questions and trust their advice.
Add exercise to your daily routine. Start off the month by walking 15 minutes, 3 times each week. By mid-month, increase your time to 30 minutes, 3 times each week.
Increase healthy eating. Cook heart-healthy meals at home at least 3 times each week and make your favorite recipe lower sodium. For example, swap out salt for fresh or dried herbs and spices. Visit with a Dietitian to learn how to tailor these heart healthy tips to your own diet.
Take steps to quit smoking. If you currently smoke, quitting can cut your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Take medication as prescribed. Talk with your doctor about the importance of high blood pressure and cholesterol medications.
You may have big plans tonight for celebrating with your own Valentine, but if you're still looking for heart healthy ideas, look no further. Advanced Nutrition Consultants with the help of the American Heart Association has comprised some healthier alternatives for celebrating Valentine's Day this year.
For your child's Valentine’s Day party at their school or day care, instead of sending candies, consider healthier options such as raisins, grapes, whole-grain pretzels, or non-food items such as colored pencils, small toys or stickers.
Rekindle an old flame – try preparing one of your sweetie’s favorite recipes in a healthier way. These healthy substitutions can help you cut down on saturated fats, trans fats, salt (sodium), and added sugars, while noticing little, if any, difference in taste.
Let us know how you made your Valentine's Day a Heart Healthy one by leaving us a comment!
Happy Valentine's Day,