Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. And while you might have plans to take your loved one out to a fancy restaurant or buy him or her a box of chocolates, why not switch things up this year? There are plenty of ways to show the one you love how much you cherish his or her presence without skipping out on your primarily raw, plant-based eating habits. In fact, why not use this loving holiday to focus on better ways to prioritize heart health?
Here are a few heart healthy suggestions for celebrating Feb. 14 with your special someone:
1. Drop a Bad Habit
Smoking tobacco can cause emphysema, coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, diabetes, periodontitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer … the list goes on, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This Valentine’s Day, vow to take better care of your heart, lungs and the rest of your body by quitting smoking. Or, if your loved one is the smoker, encourage him or her to drop the bad habit. Quitting can reduce your risk for developing a chronic condition that keeps you from spending more years with your loved one, plus it’ll improve your breath for a more pleasant Valentine’s Day kiss!
2. Take a Dance Class Together
Exercise is critical for a healthy heart and longevity, according to the American College of Cardiology. The researchers found that even short amounts of physical activity can reduce one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease, but even more exercise can lead to a greater reduced mortality risk caused by a cardiovascular condition.
But you don’t have to go to the gym together on Valentine’s Day. Instead, sign up for a local dance class. Dancing is an excellent form of exercise, speeding up your heart rate and helping you burn calories while having fun. It’s the perfect date night opportunity!
3. Prepare a Plant-Based Meal at Home
There’s no need to go out to eat and spend money on food that is likely prepared with loads of refined sugars, salt and harmful chemicals your body doesn’t deserve to be exposed to. If you really want to impress your loved one – and ensure his or her health isn’t in jeopardy after dinner – prepare a delicious, plant-based meal from the comfort of your own home. Look through our database of recipes to find the perfect main course for your dinner date.
4. Create a Delicious Guilt-free Dessert
A box of chocolates is the easy route for a Valentine’s Day treat. Not only does it show that you didn’t put a lot of thought into your gift, but it’s also an unhealthy, unnecessary option that can wreak havoc on the body. This year, create a homemade, guilt-free dessert instead. We have plenty of delicious, decadent recipes to choose from that your loved one will be equally satisfied and impressed with.
5. Find a Way to Relax with Each Other
There’s no reason to be stressed out on this special day. Anxiety doesn’t only make you feel uncomfortable, it has an impact on your heart as well, Dr. Kevin Campbell, a leading cardiologist and assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, told Newsmax Health.
“Stress activates the brain to tell the body to release hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol which can put extra strain on the heart,” Campbell said.
Draw a candle-lit bath for your loved one, or relax together by the fireplace and watch a romantic movie on Valentine’s Day.
6. Reconnect With Your Loved One
It’s no surprise that technological advances have taken up a lot of our free time. When was the last time you sat down on the couch with your spouse without your smartphone or tablet in hand? This Valentine’s Day, vow to reconnect with your loved one and disconnect from your digital devices. There’s nothing wrong with a good internet cleanse!
No matter how you choose to spend this Valentine’s Day, remember to be conscious of your heart health and well-being. Making healthier choices in your everyday habits can promote longevity and overall quality and satisfaction of life in the long run.