As registered dietitian nutritionists and certified nutrition specialists, February is a month worth loving! Not only is it Heart Health Month, but Valentine’s Day is a few days away, and last but not least, it’s National Chocolate Lovers’ Month. Let’s celebrate each in turn!
American Heart Month
Starting off with a sobering but important statistic – one in every four deaths in the U.S. are attributed to heart disease, making it the leading cause of death in the U.S. among both men and women, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
We know that small changes such as eating healthy, moving more, and putting down the salt shaker can all contribute to improved heart health. A family member of mine was invited to dinner at his in-laws’ home over the weekend and when he asked for the salt shaker, was told: “We don’t have one.” How wonderful is that?
What discussions can you initiate with your clients this month to encourage heart health?
February invites a celebration of romance and love. St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains elements of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. Interestingly, Valentine’s greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, although Valentine’s cards and written love notes didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. That’s a lot of love letters!
Whether you celebrate love for another person or just practice self-love on Valentine’s Day (and every day of the year!), remember that such happiness results in a release of adrenaline and norepinephrine, responsible for the pitter-patter of the heart.
National Chocolate Lovers’ Month
Need we say more? Dark chocolate can help restore flexibility in our arteries while also preventing white blood cells from adhering to blood vessels. We love the outcome of a recent study published in Heart that noted that middle-aged and older adults who eat up to 3.5 ounces of chocolate a day (interestingly, the type of chocolate didn’t make a difference in this study) seem to have lower rates of heart disease than those who do not indulge in a few bites daily.
We wish you a happy heart month filled with love for others, self-care and a few bites of dark chocolate! Let us know how you’re encouraging heart health among your clients!