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Loving Your Heart

An Innovative Apporach to Valentine's Day

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Evidence suggests that on February 14, 269 A.D., Valentine was martyred for secretly marrying countless couples and bringing together true love. Legend has it that the emperor of the time, Claudius II, believed that marriage weakened his army and therefore banned the practice. However, Valentine defied the emperor, was caught, condemned and beaten to death.

Over 225 years later, Pope Gelasius set aside February 14th to honor St. Valentine, who became the patron saint of lovers. Gradually, the 14th of February became a day for exchanging love messages and simple gifts. This Valentine’s Day, why not give your heart a simple gift? The gift of health.

Start with these five heart-smart Valentines.

Valentine #1: No Smoking, Please
What is the single most important thing you can do to improve your heart health? Stop smoking. Smoking hardens the arteries, compromises the ability of the blood to carry oxygen to the cells, raises blood pressure, and causes an irregular heartbeat. Kicking the habit is hard. Check with your physician about the nicotine patch as well as smoking cessations programs in your area.

Valentine #2: Don’t Fear Fat
The important thing to remember about fat intake is that you want to reduce it, not eliminate it. Cut back on saturated fat found in lard, butter, stick margarines, high fat dairy products, high fat meats, fried foods, cream sauces, and gravies. Instead of fearing all fats, let some good fat into your diet. Enjoy cooking, baking, and sautéing with olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. These oils are rich in monounsaturated fats, which help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • Stress??? What's that???lol
    - 6/19/2014 2:39:50 PM
  • The best way to protect your heart is to lower your internal inflammation levels.

    The best way to do that is to lower your sugar and starch intake. They're empty calories for nutritional purposes, but a loaded gun for your heart health. - 2/7/2014 8:31:22 AM
  • Another great article! - 2/2/2014 12:30:07 AM
  • Love the article. It's great when you can read something to help you to make better choices. - 8/1/2013 9:22:45 AM
  • I do wish my husband would quit smoking

    I can not convince his how much it would mean to me - 12/27/2010 4:26:13 PM
  • DENI_ZEN
    My triglycerides went from 330 in April to 82, and I lost 34 pounds in that time. There's a lot we can do for our tickers! - 9/5/2010 6:56:21 AM
  • Another great read for the health of the body is: "YOU: On A Diet" by Dr. Oz. I have both the South Beach Diet book, per Jibbie, and YOU: On A Diet.

    These books together are a powerhouse of information. YOU: On A Diet explains in layman's terms and with cartoon sketches, (as only Dr. Oz can do), how the body works and what happens when you care for it, and when you don't care for it. It has a storehouse of knowledge, information, and tips to help you understand why your body functions the way it does.

    The South Beach Diet is geared to help one with getting their numbers, (blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol, ect.), going in the right direction.

    Both books will do your heart wonders, and your body will thank you for it. - 10/4/2009 1:20:08 PM
  • I think everyone should read ARTHUR AGATSTON, M.D.'s book "The South Beach Heart Health Program." as he is a Cardiologist and Professor at the U. of Miami Medical School. I've learned so much about Metabolic Syndrome/pre-diab
    etes from reading his books. - 7/24/2009 11:02:47 AM
  • Great article. I love Valentine's Day. True it gets a lot of flack for being so commercialized; still, any day that brings hearts and love to the surface (even superficially) is okay by me. - 1/29/2009 2:19:48 PM
  • Great article . . . Thanks! It gives me a lot to think about! - 10/2/2008 10:34:41 PM
  • My father died of a heart attack and I am trying to do more for my heart. - 10/2/2008 12:43:47 PM
  • Every day is Valentine's Day! Why wait for one day out of the whole year to celebrate someone you love!!! - 10/2/2008 5:11:11 AM
  • Is past Valentines day but I still found this article very informative. - 2/25/2008 10:51:03 AM
  • SLOWRUNNER82
    I work for the Heart Association and would be happy to pass along any helpful information. Happy Love Your Heart Month Everyone!

    :) - 1/25/2008 2:12:00 PM
  • CRICKETRO
    This is a great approach to St. Valentine's Day :) I'm hoping to plan a very active weekend wt my hubby -of course it would include either tennis or ice-skating ;) - 1/25/2008 1:33:52 PM

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