On Valentine’s Day, you think about your heart, and love, and roses, and all of that mushy stuff. Then you color it red and pink.
Ever wonder about that?
Probably not; it’s just something you grew up with. Indeed, Valentine’s Day, love, and hearts are synonymous.
But, there is a reason (or two) that we continue to associate love with the heart muscle (even if we know it’s there to pump blood through the body).
Back in Egyptian times (not that that Egypt doesn’t exist today, but you know what we mean), it was believed that the heart controlled all thinking, emotion, and feeling (as in abstract emotions, not what you do with your hands). That’s why the Egyptians weighed and returned the heart to the body during mummification, even though they threw away the brain.
This belief persisted long past the time of Aristotle and the Greeks, when it was surmised that the heart did all those things and the lungs and brain were around to cool the heart (as a fan cools the processor on your laptop). Actually, Aristotle thought the thinking functions of the body occurred in the liver, but since he put love in the heart region and then wrote prolifically, people tended to listen to him. His ideas about the body were terribly important until corpses were used in experimental study (albeit on the sly) during the Renaissance.
And, while we think all of this is preposterous today, it wasn’t a bad deduction at the time.
After all, you don’t feel emotions in your brain physically. But, when you’re happy or sad or agitated, your heart does pump faster or slower and it can physically ache from the strain of emotional response.
Thinking about Your Heart this Valentine’s Day
Once you’ve gotten past the premise that the heart is linked to love, it’s not difficult to make the correlation between your heart and the day of love (though we would need to have a long look at history between the Renaissance and the creation of Hallmark to figure out why Valentine’s Day is set aside as the day of love).
More importantly, you can think about Valentine’s Day as a marker on the calendar to help you remember your heart.
And that’s when you can pull out the association with the color red to your benefit. (Through, in fairness, we could link to purple, orange, yellow or green, so it’s not as if we can call this link any more logical than Aristotle believing that we think from our livers… and thank goodness that we don’t.)
The point is that chili peppers are a serious benefit to your heart’s health. The capsaicin found inside these fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce susceptibility to dangerous clot formations, reduce cholesterol, block the contraction of arteries, and generally just make you feel good.
And with the unlikely association of the Egyptians and Aristotle to Valentine’s Day, we can’t see why chili peppers shouldn’t be your first thought this year (or, all year, for that matter).