On the 14th of February every year, we celebrate Valentine’s Day. A day of expressing love, giving and receiving gifts. Did you know there are actually health benefits from celebrating Valentine’s Day? Let’s have a look at the things associated with the day and how they affect the heart.
A component in cocoa used to make chocolate: (Flavonoids) can contribute to heart health. Flavonoids are antioxidants, known to protect against free radicals in the body. These free radicals damage arteries and trigger buildup of fat in the wall of blood vessels. Antioxidants can also help lower the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL), and increase the amount of “good” cholesterol (HDL). This antioxidant effect is apparently greater in dark chocolate, because it has a higher concentration of cocoa. While we celebrate the amazing qualities of dark chocolate, let’s not forget chocolate contains sugar, saturated fat and is high in calories. Small quantities are advisable.
For people who drink a moderate amount of red wine, there’s a heart health benefit. It has been shown that red wine also contains Flavonoids, similar to those in dark chocolate. The Flavonoids in red wine are gotten from grape skins (wine is made from grapes) and they have an antioxidant effect, may raise good cholesterol levels and may help prevent blood clotting in the blood vessels. I would caution against excessive drinking, or encouraging non-drinkers to start drinking. Red wine; although great for the heart, also contains alcohol, which is directly toxic to body organs. Alcohol consumption can raise the risk of liver problems, high blood pressure, obesity, breast cancer, suicide, and accidents. Alcohol can harm the growth and development of an unborn child. The recommended amount of red wine per day should generally be a wine glass (120mls). Red wine is not a first line of defense against heart disease.
Giving Roses are just not all about being romantic, roses (and indeed flowers in general); can help to lower blood pressure. Studies have found that simply looking at fresh roses for a few minutes relaxes the mind, and lowers blood pressure!
Read Also: Amazing health benefits of being in Love
The color RED:
Red is the favorite color of Valentine’s Day, the color is also linked to passion, love, and desire. It is also good for Heart health. Red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, red bell pepper, strawberries, cherries, and cranberries are packed with cardio-protective nutrients such as Lycopene; which reduces the risk for heart disease, Vitamin C; which reduces inflammation and boosts immunity, Folate; improves flexibility of the blood vessels, Fiber; which helps lower “bad” LDL-cholesterol, and other valuable nutrients.
Love improves your overall health:
Studies have shown that good relationships have health benefits, it has been shown that “love” can help prevent fat buildup in the arteries, it protects against heart disease, boosts immunity levels reduces levels of stress chemicals, decreases risk of early death. Personal contact turns on a part of the nervous system, which has a calming effect, and reduces the amount stress chemicals in the body. The human touch can lower blood pressure, and illicit a sense of safety, connection, and comfort.
With all these benefits, I am sure we are extra committed to having a love filled Valentines.
Happy Valentines Day!!
Dr Monisola Adanijo FMCP a Cardiologist and Founder of Naveen Healthcare.
With experience spanning over 20 years, she built her pathway in medicine and cardiology working in reputable medical centres such as Mecure Healthcare Limited, Barnes Hospital, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Chevron Hospital, Lagos to mention but a few.
Her passion for preventive cardiology led her to convene the Naveen Healthcare 10,000 Hearts Project, in order to help individuals detect, protect and correct cardiovascular diseases.
Skilled in cardiovascular diagnostic procedures and treatment, a fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, a member of Nigerian Cardiac Society, American College of Physicians, Hypertension society of Nigeria and an international associate of the American College of Cardiology. She also has a Diploma in Leadership and Management from the University of Washington, USA,
As a Continuous Medical Education (CME) provider, she has worked with the likes of Trigen Healthcare Solutions, Pfizer GP Academy, Diamond Helix Medical Assistance, Pfizer Pharmacy Academy, Global Health Project and Resources, Sanofi-Aventis Nigeria, Novartis Nigeria and Servier International. She has helped build capacity in Electrocardiogram interpretation, preventive cardiovascular diseases, management of heart failure, patient education and more.
She launched the first TeleElectrocardiogram project in Nigeria and West Africa and does her part in contributing to good health and wellbeing, a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG3) of the United Nations.