Love your heart. Love life. Love yourself. Love is a universal human emotion that permeates all aspects of life. Although the connection may not seem obvious, love of self is directly related to heart health. Valentine’s Day is all about the metaphorical heart, a celebration of love and affection. If you want to feel better and enjoy life to the full, remember to love your heart.

A healthy life requires a healthy heart. Take extra care of this special muscle, and, of course, your metaphorical one too. Love your heart and get on the road to living your best life.

Here are a few tips to love your heart:

1. Eat healthily

A healthy, balanced, nutritious diet is the way to go. Choose non-refined carbs if any, and eat lots of vegetables. Be sure to vary your colours!

2. Get active

Any form of exercise is great! From a 30 minute walk or a game of bats and ball on the beach every day, to a strenuous dance or spinning class 3 times per week. Whatever works for you, as long as you get moving.

3. Maintain a healthy weight

See points 1 and 2 for the best combo to do this.

4. Drink plenty of water

Our bodies are made up of roughly 60 to 90% water. Yes, that’s right. We’re a bunch of walking puddles and if we don’t drink enough water none of our springs, fountains or river outlets flow as they should. Pure, clean water is essential for your overall health.

5. Be smoke-free

This is not the eighties, people. There are no excuses. Enough said.

6. Manage your blood cholesterol and blood pressure

Refer to points 1 to 5. Take the necessary steps. Also include Vitamin E in your diet. Vitamin E contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. It also helps maintain a healthy immune system and assists in cardiovascular health.

*Montagu products high in Vitamin E: Almonds, Hazel nuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts.

7. Drink alcohol only in moderation

Alcohol is not all bad but must be limited and consumed in moderation. 1 to 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.

8. Manage your stress levels

Exercise and prayer or meditation are effective methods to help reduce stress. And they are free!

Adjust your diet to help your heart:
  1. Eat less salt: Reducing your salt intake is good for your blood pressure.
  2. Replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats: Replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats namely monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) can reduce your risk of heart disease. Most nuts and seeds contain MUFA’s and PUFA’s.

Make every day, every moment and every meal a celebration of love and life.