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Heart Healthy Tips for Valentine's Day

A picture of heart healthy foods

Have you ever experienced a heart attack? Perhaps you’re caring for a loved one who has just survived one. Probably one of the most frustrating things in the world is going out of your way to live a healthier lifestyle, then ending up in the hospital with a clogged artery, or worse. It is important when you realize that you don’t feel as good as you have previously, to start making changes.

Maybe you are more lethargic than you used to be or more tired. Perhaps you find it harder to do things without coming up short of breath. So, you decide to eat healthier, cut back on salt, etc. We know that a healthy heart, body and mind starts with diet and exercise. However, the problem that most people don’t recognize is that it takes time for a new diet, healthy weight, or exercise to lower blood pressure, unclog arteries and get your body back in shape.

When you start a new workout routine, it can take time before you see muscles develop. Similarly, your heart is the most important muscle in the body, and it can take about a year to get it in great shape, especially if you haven’t exactly been kind to it.

If you’ve started a diet and exercise routine, and you’re worried about how to survive the candy and sugar rush inevitably headed your way on the day of love, then this blog post is for you!

  • Swap out the sweet chocolate for dark chocolate – Cover some peanuts or your favorite fruit with dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate! There’s less sugar in dark chocolate, and believe it or not, it contains flavonoids that actually lower blood pressure and help to prevent clotting or inflammation of blood vessels.
  • Swap out the candy for fruit – Fruits contain some amazing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are incredibly healthy for you. Potassium can be helpful if you’re trying to lower your blood pressure, so if your valentine has a sweet tooth, grab a cookie cutter and cut out some melon and banana hearts. Make a yummy edible arrangement for them to munch on instead of heart shaped treats filled with sugar.
  • Not all fat is created equal – Saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and trans fats are all completely different. Omega-3 fatty acids lower the risk of an irregular heartbeat and help fight plaque. So, if you’re going out for valentine’s day dinner, grab some salmon. Roasted potatoes are also rich in potassium, which is incredibly healthy for your heart, and tomatoes help get rid of bad cholesterol, so make sure you add a salad to your dinner!

When you start to make changes to your diet, you may consider trying the “less is more” approach. Instead of cutting things out of your life completely, which leads to unhealthy binging, find ways to incorporate your favorite things in a healthier way. If you want to enjoy a single chocolate chip cookie with applesauce or dark chocolate (instead of milk chocolate) a couple of times a week, this isn’t going to hurt you, especially if you pair these treats with a dinner full of fiber and protein.

Celebrate your loved one this Valentine’s Day with healthier alternatives to traditional chocolates and candies. Staying on track with health goals is very important and we know holidays can be distracting. At Homewatch CareGivers of Charlotte we’re here to help. Don’t be afraid to contact us today to learn more about the different home care options that are available to you.

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