Give the gift of heart health this Valentine’s Day!

This Valentine’s Day, show that special someone how much you care by giving a gift that’s from the heart and for their heart. After all, February is American Heart Month!

Heart disease is preventable and treatable, yet it’s the number one killer of both men and women. In the United States, about 600,000 people die each year from heart disease. So, rather than going out and indulging in that three-course meal, sitting for hours while seeing that blockbuster hit, or sharing a big box of chocolates think of healthier alternatives that you could both do together.

If you’re drawing a blank, try out these heart-healthy ideas:

  • Surprise your significant other with a heart-healthy breakfast in bed. Oatmeal is chock-full of heart healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and fiber. Top with fresh fruit and walnuts for an extra healthy meal. Or try this heart-healthy recipe for delicious Whole-Wheat Pancakes. Cut them into a heart shape with a cookie cutter and top with fresh strawberries!
  • Make a romantic heart-healthy meal together! Try this succulent Honey Soy Salmon recipe. Not a fan of seafood? Then how about this Pork Tenderloin with Ginger-Peach Sauce? Both are healthier alternatives than eating out at a restaurant. Plus, you’ll have fun cooking together!
  • Forget about the big box of chocolates for dessert. Instead, try this Dark Chocolate Fondue with Fresh Fruit. Make it even healthier by substituting nonfat yogurt or low-fat soy milk instead of cream.
  • The couple that trains together stays together!  Plan a gym date and workout together. Whether you’re taking a group class or designing your own routine, working out together and motivating one another can strengthen your relationship while also strengthening your heart. Check out these fun partner exercises!  (Fun tip: Put together a love-themed playlist to keep you both pumped up during your workout.)
  • How about a massage to relieve some stress? High levels of stress can result in high blood pressure, chest pains, irregular heartbeat, or even a heart attack! Schedule a couple’s massage so the two of you can relax together.

Don’t let yourself or your significant other become a victim to heart disease. Remind them how much you care and give the gift of a healthy heart this Valentine’s Day.

Photo credit: shimelle

Sources:
CDC
WebMD

About Niccole LaDue

Niccole is a wife, fitness enthusiast and vegetarian. Her position as a Health Educator for Blue Care Network allows her to share her passion for health and wellness with everyone around her. Niccole holds many fitness certifications and is working towards her master’s degree in Wellness & Lifestyle Management at Rowan University. She is a lover of Michigan, food, music and life!
 
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3 Comments

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  1. Bruce Belcher 1 year ago

    I am not convinced that the added sugar in these recipes will improve people’s health.

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    • Niccole LaDue 1 year ago

      Hi Bruce,
      Thank you for your comment! Although some of these recipes do have added sugar, they are also very nutrient dense and low in calories and sodium. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the total sugar for a food or recipe that is listed in the nutrition facts accounts for added and naturally occurring sugars. These recipes are just meant to be healthier alternatives to the chocolates, candies, and unhealthy foods many people usually indulge in on Valentine’s Day.
      Be well,
      Niccole LaDue

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  2. Bruce Belcher 1 year ago

    The pancake recipe has a quarter cup of added sugar; most pancake recipes do not have added sugar. The recipes for salmon and pork also have added sugar; it’s not necessary to include sugar when cooking fish or meat.

    People might want to include sugar for an occassional treat, but BCBSM should not be promoting added sugar as something that will improve people’s health. Here is a link to a talk about why sugar is toxic by Robert Lustig, a pediatric neuro-endocrinologist at UCSF, who is generally recognized as the country’s leading obesity expert:

    Here is a NY Times article discussing why sugar is not healthy:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?pagewanted=all

    Here is another link to a recent interview with Dr. Lustig:

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-17/features/chi-food-policy-robert-lustig-dishes-on-low-carb-obama-toxic-sugar-juice-and-more-20130117_1_anti-sugar-food-industry-food-items

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