Love on your heart: Tips for a healthier Valentine’s Day

(CNN) - Whether it’s candy hearts or a three-course meal, spending Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart might not be the best thing for your heart.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.

"There are lots of ways to show your love on Valentine’s day that include hearthealthy options,” Dr. Jyoti Sharma, a cardiologist. “So for example, going for a walk together or maybe participating in another activity that the two of you really enjoy.”

Instead of sweets, give the gift of time.

Sharma said the same goes for your children.

“Things like stickers, or fun Valentine’s Day cards, or let them make friendship bracelets as a way for them to show how much they appreciate their friends, instead of sending them to school with candy.”

Instead of going to a fancy restaurant, cook a candle-lit dinner at home.

“When we cook our own meals, we are in control of what goes into our mouths and we can ensure what we are eating is a healthy option,” Sharma said.

And while it might not make the most romantic date, the American Heart Association has set up free heart screenings at CVS Minute Clinics across the country this Valentine’s Day and every Thursday in February.

“You have no idea how to prevent cardiovascular disease unless you know where you're starting from,” Sharma said.

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