Healthy Together: what you and your partner can do for each other’s health

A recent study observed that couples who live in the same home environment also tend to “copy” each other. This may explain why, when one partner has a chronic disease such as hypertension, diabetes, or dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), their spouse is at risk of having (or developing) the same diseases.

Come February, many of us rush to buy things to prove our affection to our partners. But what if, instead, you gift each other better health and a long-lasting togetherness?

Take small steps for two

If your partner has high blood pressure, start by reducing the amount of salt in your food. Be aware of hidden salt (even in sweet foods) and opt for more home-cooked meals where you have better control.  Forgo the salt altogether, and use a mix of spices and herbs to enhance the flavor. Your taste buds may need time to adjust, though, so start gradually by lowering the salt content, rather than cutting it out all at once.

Welcome more plants on your plates

Choose more plant-based dishes when dining out and get in the habit of recreating these dishes at home, together. Replace some meat in your diet with meatless protein options such as beans, lentils, and whole grains. Red and processed meat consumption, and frying or grilling meat, is associated with a higher incidence of chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer in both men and women.

Include more fiber in your lives

Eating enough fiber helps you and your Valentine keep your digestion regular; it also helps reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar. And don’t forget your microbiomes—those friendly bugs rely on you to feed them (fiber) so they can, in turn, keep you both healthy.

What about dessert for two?

Treat yourself and your partner to better, wholesome desserts by avoiding simple carbohydrates such as refined white flour and added sugar. Again, taste buds need time to adjust.

What’s love got to do with … food?

The German language has an expression that literally means “love goes through the stomach, ” a poetic suggestion that love and cooking do intersect. In other words, the way we eat is influenced by more than what’s on our plate. Stress, physical activity levels, and our socializing habits, including at home, affect our eating habits. Devote time and effort to resolving marital conflict. After all, the endocrine, immune, and cardiovascular systems are all affected when you’re not getting along well with your partner.

Bottom line?

Just get started! The very act of moving forward together with an attitude of constructive change will give you momentum. Positive changes along the way will motivate you and your Valentine to carry on together toward achieving better health.

BetsyHealth Note: ^This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.

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Article copyright 2022 by Alive Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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