Valentine’s Day reminds us of hearts but when was the last time you listened to your heart? Is your heart racing? It could be because you are in the presence of a new loved one. The adrenaline hormone and the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine, increase when two people fall in love, causing their hearts to race for just a moment. 1
Losing a loved one through death or divorce also takes its toll on the heart. This stressful event can cause a temporary weakening of the heart muscle, especially in older adults. The chest pain that is felt is referred to as “broken heart” syndrome. Ironically, even a stressful happy event, such as a wedding or the birth of a grandchild can cause “broken heart” syndrome.2
If you want to be happy and have good health, it might be more important to make your partner happy than trying to make yourself happy.3 Giving love from the heart in terms of social support makes your partner happy, which can help you have better health.
And, yes, go ahead and share that dark chocolate candy and a glass of red wine with your loved one this Valentine’s Day. Dark chocolate has been shown to be associated with lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels and improvement in the way your blood vessels dilate and relax.4 Flavonoids are present in red wine, and one glass a day is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.
Remember, though, you should always check out heart symptoms with a physician and do not engage in chocolate or wine immoderately.
- Loyola University Health System. (2014, February 6). What falling in love does to your heart and brain. 6 February 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2017 from, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140206155244.htm.
- Ghadr, J. R., et al. (2016). Happy heart syndrome: Role of positive emotional stress in takotsubo syndrome. European Heart Journal, 37 (37): 2823-2829. DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv757