As Valentine’s Day draws near, many people start preparing by purchasing various gifts or scheduling different activities to celebrate with their partner. And while you might view the season of love as the perfect time to shower your significant other with sweet treats, the unfortunate reality is that many classic Valentine’s Day gifts don’t benefit your heart whatsoever.
In fact, overindulging with chocolate, wine or a lavish late-night dinner can increase your likelihood of suffering from a variety of health complications, including high blood pressure or cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Keep your heart in mind this Valentine’s Day with the following tips:
- Swap your sweet treats—While giving sweets may seem like a kind gesture, consuming excess sugar could increase your risk of hypertension. Consider giving your loved one a healthy treat, such as fresh fruit instead. And if you can’t resist, try freezing your sweet treats and eating them in small increments rather than all at once.
- Switch up your plans—Rather than overindulging in a late-night restaurant dinner, take your romantic plans home this year by cooking a healthy meal together with your partner. If cooking isn’t in your skill set, try going out to lunch instead of to dinner so your body has more time to digest. In addition, make smart choices by avoiding foods that are high in fat or salt, swapping chips with a healthy side dish or sharing a large main course with your partner.
- Stay active—Instead of staying on the sofa to watch a movie, pick a Valentine’s Day activity that will keep you and your partner on your feet. Take advantage of the winter weather by going sledding or ice-skating. If you aren’t feeling as adventurous, taking a brisk walk to keep you warm is just as fun.
- Sip smart—Ditch going out for an alcoholic drink or coffee and stay hydrated with healthy choices, such as kombucha, tea, a smoothie or fresh juice.