Valentine Gift Advice : Chocolate's a Sweet Idea, but Think of Her Heart

Valentine's Day candy may make your sweetie's heart beat faster. But if you want it to beat longer, think twice about those chocolates.

"A box of chocolates is full of cholesterol and saturated fat," says Roxanne Yamaguchi, community relations director of the Medical Center of Manhattan Beach. "A better gift is a healthy heart."

So the medical group is giving free blood pressure checkups today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at a booth in Manhattan Village mall. And for a $5 donation to the Red Cross African Relief Fund, patrons can find out what their serum cholesterol level is.

According to the center, high blood pressure contributes to the deaths of 250,000 Americans every year and disables many more. A buildup of cholesterol leads to atherosclerosis--the first symptoms often being a heart attack or stroke.

"Make your heart feel happy by doing something good for it," Yamaguchi said. "And give your valentine a box of fresh fruit."

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