A happy heart is a healthy heart, so take Valentine's Day as cue to give your own heart some love
February is widely known for Valentine's day but it's also #HeartMonth, a time to bring heart health in focus so we're here with some simple strategies to improve heart health.
Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death globally. While high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are the biggest risk factors for heart disease, there are several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices that can put people at a higher risk.
However, making small changes to daily routines can make a big difference to heart health, which in the long term could help reduce risk of heart and circulatory related conditions such as diabetes, stroke, vascular dementia or heart disease.
A happy heart is a healthy heart!
Valentines' Day may have heartache connotations but on the flipside a happy heart is a healthy heart, so take Valentine's Day as cue to give your own heart some love.
Interestingly enough the stuff of Valentine's Day is often found to be good for the heart so there's even more reason to enjoy chocolate, berries, a sunset walk and sharing some kindness with a loved one!
Here are some of the ways which you can improve your heart during Heart Month and beyond...
Make time for movement & walk away from stress
The heart likes to feel alive so give your body a healthy boost with some aerobic activity, aiming for 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. This doesn't have to be in one session and will be best split over your days, think about how you can add more movement into your day - get off the bus one stop early, park in far end of the car-park and carry your shopping back to the car...
If you're feeling stressed this Valentine’s Day, then take a walk with a loved one to reduce anxiety, connect with your partner and nature. Plus the half hour walk will be one fifth of the way towards your weeks activity.
Nutrition, connection & pleasure
Taking time to enjoy delicious and nutritious foods with a loved ones is wonderful way to spend Valentine's Day, foods such as dark and decadent chocolate, beautiful berries, omega-3 rich Salmon, and sexy super food salads are all great choices.
One of the most exciting health benefits associated with berries, are the benefits for the cardiovascular system. Research conducted at the university of Reading, found that the high levels of flavonoids in berries can lower blood pressure and enhance blood flow. They do this by causing the cells that line the inside of our blood vessels to secrete a substance called nitric oxide, that allows the blood vessel walls to relax. This reduces the pressure against the vessel wall and helps to improve blood flow.
Seek happiness & share kindness
A vast scientific literature has detailed how negative emotions can harm the body. Ongoing stress can alter biological systems in a way that, over time, adds up to “wear and tear” and can lead to illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
To remedy such negative stresses, kindness is inextricably linked to happiness on both mental and psychological levels. In a study of Japanese undergraduates, research revealed that one’s sense of happiness increased by the simple act of counting the number of one’s acts of kindness. Practicing being truly happy for your partner is a great gift to both of you.