Ah yes, love is in the air. February 14th is right around the corner – that time of year when we stop obsessing about our own lives, and focus instead on the ones we love. Valentine’s Day, as we know, is all about heart.
But although we usually think about each other’s hearts in the metaphorical sense, let’s think about each other’s hearts in the literal sense. Let’s put aside our thoughts of gifts and fancy dinners for the moment, and spend some time thinking about what really matters: the health and well-being of our loved ones.
Valentine’s Day is All About Heart
February is American Heart Month, a time for us to observe and recognize the nationwide problem of cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) diseases. The American Heart Association (AHA) is one of the largest and most active organizations working to foster appropriate care for those affected by cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as provide basic and advanced life support.
According to the AHA, heart disease is the largest cause of death, worldwide. There are, however, immediate and actionable steps that we can all take (and promote to our loved ones) to prevent cardiovascular diseases:
- Diet: Eat more foods that are low in fat, but high in fiber. These include whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables (at least five portions a day).
- Smoking: Avoid smoking tobacco products and avoid second-hand smoke.
- Alcohol: Limit your alcohol consumption to the recommended daily limits. In fact, consumption of 1-2 standard alcoholic drinks per day may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%. Excessive alcohol intake, however, will increase your risk.
- Blood pressure: Lower your blood pressure, if elevated, through the use of antihypertensive medications.
- Body fat: Work to decrease your Body Mass Index (BMI) if you are overweight or obese.
- Exercise: Increase your daily activity to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day, at least five times per week.
- Stress: Decrease psychosocial stress by consciously relaxing and knowing your triggers.
So, instead of buying a pearl necklace for your wife, impart these pearls of wisdom instead. And if you enjoy protecting your loved ones by keeping them informed, then why not take it a step further and become a trained expert? Protect your significant other from the threat of cardiovascular disease so that you’ll both be able to enjoy many more Valentine’s Days to come.