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Valentine's Day: 3 Healthy Ways To Celebrate

First Posted: Feb 13, 2016 06:11 PM EST
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Aw, it's almost Valentine's Day. Time to pull your significant other close with a big bouquet of red roses and an enormous box of chocolates, champagne or a big, romantic sit-down dinner to celebrate your love.

Of course, this sounds wonderful, but it's critical to keep your health in mind; splurging on holidays is simply not an excuse. In fact, a study published in 2000 by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development indicates that most Americans gain about one pound each year during the holidays. Over time, that definitely adds up.

Whether you're dating, married or just ready to enjoy some sappy romance flicks this Valentine's, here are some healthy things to do that still let you enjoy the holiday.

Eat Chocolate!

That's right. Go ahead and get a box of chocolates, but make sure they're dark chocolates. A study from 2014 presented at the American Chemical Society in Dallas by researchers at Louisiana State University found that dark chocolate may improve blood pressure. Thank the antioxidants in dark chocolate, polyphenols and flavanols, that help gobble up destructive molecules linked to heart disease. Of course, this doesn't give you the right to eat a whole box of them, though. 

Have A Drink!

If you feel the mood is right, it's always ok to have a glass of wine or two this Valentine's. Previous studies have suggested that drinking red wine in particular when combined with a healthy diet could lower the risk of heart disease. Some recent studies have also suggested that an occasional beer could be good for you. A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that a compound in hops from beers could help slow the progression of diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. 

Get Together!

Even if you don't have any specific romantic plans, sex is something that benefits both parties. Past research has suggested that sex is a stress reducer, can help keep your heart healthy and even fends off illness. A study in Pennsylvania published in 2004 by the Psychology Report found that students who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of an important illness-fighting substance in their bodies (Immunoglobulin A (IgA) when compared to counterparts who did not.

And just hanging out can also be a key to stress reduction and happiness. Findings published in 2003 in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine found that holding hands and even a 20-second hug can reduce stress--lowering heart rate and blood pressure.

Happy Valentine's Day! 

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