When planning for Valentine's Day it is important to also keep your loved ones health in mind. How can you you plan for the big day while also keeping it healthy? Below is Face2face Africa's guide to a happy, healthy Valentine’s Day.
Dark chocolate is the way to go!
If you are planning on buying chocolate for your sweetheart, make it dark chocolate. Chocolate comes from cacao beans, which contain flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants that can protect our body from being damaged by free radicals. Free radicals are waste products of various processes in the body. They can damage heart muscle and destroy the lining of arteries and veins, accelerating the development of heart disease.
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Research has shown that dark chocolate lowers blood pressure, in people with hypertension, and also lowers the bad cholesterol (LDL) circulating in the body.
According to Dr. Stibich, from About.com, dark chocolate also:
• Enhances Endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure
• Contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant
• Contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants
• Most notably, it tastes good!
Make dinner at home!
Making a dinner at home for your loved one gives this special day your own personal touch and can, at the same time, be healthier than going out to eat. You can choose from hundreds of low fat dinner recipes. The American Heart Association recommends these quick and healthy dinner recipes. You can even impress your date by finishing the night off with a nice dark chocolate based dessert. This is a great way to enjoy a cozy, intimate dinner and best of all, it is heart healthy!
What to drink with your fabulous home made dinner?
How about some red wine? Red wine contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants. Red wine is known to have a protective effect on the lining of the blood vessels of the heart. An additional bonus – you do not have to worry about drinking and driving because you will be at home!
Trying to decide on the perfect gift?
Try a gift certificate to a spa for massage therapy. Massage therapy activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which releases serotonin and endorphins. These neuro-chemicals help promote relaxation, enhance lymphatic flow, and restore energy. Research has demonstrated that massages reduce pain, anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate leading to an overall healthy effect on the heart.
What better way to celebrate this Valentine’s Day then to toast to your love in a wholesome, healthy way!
Sources: Atlantichealth.org, AHA, Mayo Clinic
Photo Credit: littleshamrocks.com, thankyouandbewell.com