Valentine’s Day is coming up and we thought we’d share with you a few heart-healthy menu ingredients for the big night, some interesting facts about kissing, and a super easy, thoughtful, and wellness-promoting gift idea.
• Wild-caught, fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fats – Salmon is a good choice. Omega-3 fats are called ‘essential fatty acids’ not only because they are ‘essential’ – that word actually means that the body doesn’t make them. We have to get them from diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish and preferably fatty fish at least twice a week.
• Blueberries/Strawberries – In a study published in the journal, Circulation, the authors note that the women who ate the most blueberries/strawberries were 32 percent less likely to have a heart attack, compared to women who ate berries once a month or less. These berries contain high levels of anthocyanins (antioxidants) which help fight chronic disease and may help lower blood pressure and widen arteries, which counteracts plaque buildup.
• Dark chocolate – Several studies have shown that consumption of dark chocolate (at least 60-70% cocoa) may benefit your heart. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids called polyphenols, which may help lower blood pressure, prevent clotting, and decrease inflammation.
• Dark green, leafy veggies like spinach and kale – these are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and free your body of harmful toxins. They are rich in fiber and contain a ton of vitamins and minerals.
• Olive oil/olives – They are a great source of monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce both cholesterol as well as blood sugar levels. Olives, both green and black, provide a good source of flavor as well as a healthy fat to any salad.
• Green tea – A study published in 2006 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that green tea consumption is associated with reduced mortality due to all causes, including heart disease. Recent literature suggests that green tea may decrease the development of age-related memory issues.
First off, did you even know there were researchers called Philematologists or “Kiss Scientists?” – WHO KNEW?
• Kissing exposes us to each other’s infections, like herpes viruses. While this sounds yucky, this exposure may actually boost the immune system and keep women from passing on unwanted infections onto their unborn fetuses. WHO KNEW?
• Kissing makes us feel good. Well, this seems somewhat obvious, but did you know it actually increases the release of ‘feel-good’ chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin? Oxytocin, in particular, helps lower blood pressure, reduces pain, and prevents/relieves cramping. WHO KNEW?
• Kissing helps tone the muscles of the face. Perhaps a facelift won’t be in your future if you give a few more smooches throughout your day. Kissing requires the work of several facial muscles. WHO KNEW?
• Kissing fights cavities. OK, don’t stop brushing your teeth or no one will want to kiss you, but the extra production of saliva has been shown to wash away plaque-causing bacteria from the surface of your teeth. Also, the minerals in saliva can help build up the tooth enamel. WHO KNEW?
• Kissing lowers our cortisol levels. Cortisol is known as our ‘stress hormone.’ Studies demonstrate that those who kiss more frequently have lower stress levels. WHO KNEW?
• Kissing is a great workout! Well….not exactly! It certainly won’t replace a good workout at the gym or a long ride on your bicycle, but you do burn 2 calories per minute of kissing. WHO KNEW?
This bath salt recipe is the perfect homemade gift!
Now go enjoy a great meal and a great kiss with your loved one. Happy Valentine’s Day!
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