More often than not, Valentine's Day focuses on romantic love for another. This year, why not show your heart some tender loving care first? Optimizing your overall health and well-being is the best way to become more physically and emotionally available for others in your life!
In Ancient Chinese tradition, the heart organ is called The Supreme Controller, Empress, or Emperor. Along with our lungs, the heart automatically regulates our Being's rhythm. It also resides at the top of the Chinese Law of Five Elements (5E) Cycle and holds the top slot in the 5E organ numbering system. It should also be no surprise to learn that the Number One acupuncture point on the Number One Meridian or Heart Channel is called “Utmost Source.”
Our hearts work on our behalf 24/7 without us having to do anything or even think about them. It's when things go wrong with the heart, like an irregular heartbeat, do we even notice the workings of the heart. So, this Valentine’s Day, why not show your own heart more love to help keep it working on your behalf? Here are some ideas to help.
Eat heart-healthy foods.
Did you know that eating spicy food is good for the heart? The heat found in spicy foods stimulates blood flow, kicks up the metabolism, and promotes endorphins like serotonin. More serotonin can make us less prone to stress during these darker winter months, which decreases our risk for depression.
Chili Peppers: Adding some spice to your recipes can help reduce LDL cholesterol's damaging effects. The capsaicin in chili peppers also helps fight inflammation, a proven risk factor for heart issues. Chili peppers also contain Vitamin A & C to strengthen the heart muscle walls. All of these contribute to lowering blood pressure and overall improving cardiovascular health. Eating spicy foods also helps with weight loss, a bonus!
Other heart-warming spices to consider include cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, coriander, dry mustard, horseradish, black peppercorns, garlic, mace, and cloves.
Can adding spicy foods to your diet help you live a longer, healthier life? Check out this four-year research study of over 400,000 men and women, ages 30–79 and their use of chili peppers.
Dark Chocolate: Studies show that healthy substances in this delicious treat may promote heart health and reduce stroke risk by lowering inflammation in the body. Less inflammation may have a positive effect on your blood vessels and blood flow and translate to improved circulation, lowered blood pressure, and a lower risk of developing irregular heartbeats. Dark chocolate may also improve cholesterol levels by lowering LDL cholesterol.
Berries: The heart is one big muscle, and the antioxidants found in berries protect muscle cells. While blackberries have the most anti-oxidative qualities, strawberries, black raspberries, and blueberries are beneficial, too. To get the quality and quantity of good phytonutrients that help our health and well-being, choose fresh berries over frozen. Chocolate-covered strawberries, anyone?
Plan a Heart-healthy Menu for Valentine's Day
Dark chocolate fondue with berries
Hot cocoa with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
Live from the heart.
We all know the presence of warm-heartedness in our relationships, whether we recognize it consciously or not.
When our hearts are open, we feel an abundance of love, kindness, and empathy. When we close our hearts, we may feel numb to warmer emotions and act cold, indifferent, frustrated, and even angry much of the time.
Opening one’s heart requires time and consciousness. Unfortunately, the overwhelming pressures of jobs, finances, raising children, running households, and keeping families going leaves little time and energy for tending.
Practicing kindness is an easy way to start. Start by doing something nice for yourself. Take time for a nap, a walk, or talk to a dear friend. Read something that nourishes your soul. Do what you love and have been putting off, like taking a luxurious bath or going snowboarding. Lightheartedness is the key to a life well-lived, so have some fun!
Once you feel kindness towards yourself, it's easier to radiate warm-heartedness to other living beings and our Planet Earth. Embrace a sense of reverence for all living beings, great and small, and caring for our environment through your actions can help to rebalance and heal the world.
A great way to start is to choose sustainable household items that protect the environment and its inhabitants. Marley’s Monsters has everything you’ll need. Be sure to check out her Valentine’s Day Faves.