This Valentine’s Day, definitely say yes to the chocolate-filled heart, but think twice before opening it a third or fourth time that day.
Among the best gifts we can give our loved ones this Valentine’s Day is our own good health. Wellness of the body and mind improves how all of our systems function, and that includes our urinary and reproductive systems. And with nearly 10,500 babies estimated to have been conceived last Valentine’s Day, according to Time, the holiday puts many reproductive systems to work.
Our Body Parts Take Care of Each Other
By keeping in good overall health, we ensure our urinary and reproductive systems are in the pink as well – from the bladder to the prostate. It just takes loving your body as much as you love the most important people in your life.
We suggest these four practices.
- Eat the chocolate, but also the strawberries. Instead of just feeding your body the traditional Valentine’s fare, give it a balanced diet rich in fruits and veggies. Cranberries, red peppers and blueberries are high in vitamin C, which could help ward off bacterial growth in the bladder. Plant-based foods also contain a lot of water, which helps flush the kidneys and bladder. Calcium – found in milk as well as cauliflower – is essential for good kidney function. But note, tomatoes, orange juice and other acidic foods may worsen symptoms of interstitial cystitis, or painful bladder syndrome.
- Run, or walk briskly, to your loved ones. Physical activity helps all organs function better because it promotes blood flow and efficient removal of bodily waste. Studies also indicate that moderate exercise may elevate testosterone levels and improve fertility, according the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Even small bits of activity can alter how your body works in ways you will notice. For example, walking can help reduce fluid retention, which can aggravate an overactive bladder.
- Make a Zzzzzz Pact. About one-third of Americans get the seven hours of sleep advised, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In women, lack of slumber has been linked to incontinence. Sleeplessness has also been identified as a factor in obesity, which can contribute to erectile dysfunction, pelvic floor weakness and kidney disease. If you have trouble sleeping, try lowering the room temperature and cuddling with someone you love.
- Go steady with your brain. Studies have found that mental stress can reduce fertility rates, not to mention sex drives. Stress also compromises the immune system, exposing the body to a range of health risks. For example, some research suggests that men who live with a lot of stress are more likely to have prostatitis, or an infected prostate.
Lastly, stay close to people important to you, including your urologist. A sense of connection improves our moods, which translates to better sleep, less stress, lower blood pressure and a generally better-functioning body.