By Elayza Gonzalez
Valentine’s Day is obviously healthy for your love life, but have you ever considered how it could be healthy for your heart? Feeling your heart flutter and soar when you see your significant other is definitely indicative of a healthy heart, when it comes to love, but there are sweet things associated with Valentine’s Day that are known to contribute to a medically healthy heart. Here are V-Day goodies that will get your love life — and heart — into tip-top shape.
Indulge in the richness
Dark chocolate has proven to reduce risk factors for heart disease. This can be attributed to chocolate’s main ingredient: cocoa. According to the Mayo Clinic, cocoa beans have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated by heart disease. They also contain flavanols, which also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular health.
Pour another glass
The resveratrol found in red wine might be the key ingredient that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and prevents blood clots, according to the Mayo Clinic. Other antioxidants found in red wine, known as polyphenols, have also shown to help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart, increase levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and prevent coronary artery disease.
Feel good vibes only
Endorphins are the hormones that lead to a happy and healthy heart. The rush of feel-good hormones associated with love and happiness help ease stress and pain. According to University Hospitals’ blog, endorphins are among the brain chemicals, known as neurotransmitters, which interact with opiate receptors in our brain. This leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, enhancement of the immune response and even a release of sex hormones.
Sharing is caring
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that quality time helps the heart grow stronger. Spending time together, whether at a romantic dinner or on an adventure, is an easy way to increase heart health. The American Heart Association recommends heart-healthy gifts or dates like preparing a candlelit dinner at home with a healthy recipe or a long walk with your beloved will be good for your heart and will give you extra romance points.