by Carina Sohaili of Vibrant Healthy Life

The month of love is upon us, and now is the time to show yourself some love by making your health a priority. Here are some simple tools for your mind and body to celebrate this month in a heart-healthy way.

Go Dark. Chocolate and the day of love go hand in hand. Deprivation is no fun and leads to hanger, the deadly combination of hunger and anger. Not to mention, it is no way to live life.

Select Wisely. Many labels advertise “healthy dark chocolate” but really are loaded with processed sugars (defeating the purpose of going dark). Make sure the chocolate is made with a minimum of 70% pure cocoa, and read the back of the label. Try to get as real as possible with few added ingredients. Ghirardelli Intense Dark squares are a good name-brand choice. (I always have my clients carry a square in their purse whenever they need a 3 p.m. pick-me-up or post-dinner treat.) Just because dark chocolate has incredible health benefits does not mean you can go to town! Around one to two squares (half to one ounce) is a good size. Moderation is key.

Sass it up with salmon. Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that the body does not produce on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease, irregular heartbeats, and help lower blood pressure levels. These healthy fats also increase your ability to focus and improve your mood. For more focus foods, check out my old blog here.

Be brave and branch out…by staying in. Instead of going out to a fancy dinner with your significant other or group of friends, plan to cook a meal at home. Home-cooked meals are much healthier than eating out, and getting comfortable in the kitchen is a great bonding activity. Cooking may seem draining or daunting at first, but just like using a muscle that you have not used, it will get stronger and easier with time. If you are eating out and are a fan of sushi, be sure to read my old piece The Sushi Situation for a guilt-free guide.

Mind. February is a month about love. Show yourself and your loved ones how much you truly care by taking a step to make health a priority. Even if it’s a small change, everything counts. If you are feeling alone on Valentine’s Day, treat yourself to a delicious, healthy home-cooked meal, massage, or activity that you enjoy. Once you start focusing on your own heath (mentally and physically), the right people will fill your life. Everything happens for a reason. Trust the process.

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