As Valentine’s Day approaches, we thought we’d take a closer look at how the customs of the day can affect your health.
Your opinion on Valentine’s Day will possibly depend on your current romantic status – you could love Valentine’s Day and feel happy regardless of whether you have a special someone to share it with, or just want to hide for the day and forget all about it. We know it’s a subjective topic, so we’re going to try and look at it objectively and see if Valentine’s Day really is good for your health.
Apparently there is a chemical in chocolate called phenylethylamine which triggers the same reaction in us as falling in love. Maybe this is why we give chocolates to loved ones on Valentine’s Day?
See this article from The Mirror on the benefits of chocolate
The health benefits of chocolate are many – reduced stress, lower blood pressure, and boosting protection against some cancers are just some of the reasons why chocolate is good for you. But beware, the calorie and sugar content per gram is huge, and there’s probably less fattening ways to de-stress and lower your blood pressure.
Also, chocolate is a good substitute for physical romance, so while your girlfriend might thank you for the chocolate, you won’t thank it for ruining your evening.
Ah wine! I love a good bit of wine. It’s a popular choice for either a gift or as accompaniment to a romantic Valentine’s Day meal.
While wine is feted to contain anti-oxidants which are good for reducing the chance of developing heart disease, this is only true for older people who are at risk in the first place. For us younger people *coughs*, the benefits are minimal, and the side effects from drinking too much alcohol are a much bigger concern.
You should still stick to the recommended maximum alcohol guidelines, which is four units a day for men, or three for women.
The verdict is to drink anything in moderation, and don’t get carried away by just one special day.
See this article from the BBC about the benefits of wine
Assuming you’re not overlooked in favour of chocolate and wine, there is a certain physical activity that you and your special other can do together which burns a fair few calories. A half-hour session of S.E.X. can burn as many calories as a 15 minute jog.
Not that I’m not an old romantic, but jogging is quicker and I can do a trip to the shops to buy my daily newspaper at the same time. Two birds, one stone.
Flowers have been proven to have psychological benefits. Flowers in your home provide something nice to look at, and scents which reduce anxiety.
Read this article from the Huffington Post about how flowers can have mental health benefits
Valentine’s Day, depending on your viewpoint, can be a wonderful day of love and appreciation which makes you happy, or a day of anxiety and stress.
While the mental health benefits can be huge, you’re not really going to get physically healthier with traditional Valentine’s gifts. You could suggest giving a nice salad, or a workout DVD for Valentine’s Day, but I don’t recommend it. I think that sticking to the tried-and-tested cards and gifts is the best way to protect your own health this Valentine’s Day.
Have a good one!