Love Your Heart: 10 Tips to Improve Cardiovascular Health

February is Heart Health Month. Don’t take that thump-tha-thump in your chest for granted. Heart disease causes approximately 25 per cent of deaths — one in every four — and can be prevented with the right lifestyle and dietary tips. Some of which may surprise you!

1. Down a Pint of Beer

Approximately 200,000 people in more than 16 research studies were analyzed by the Fondazion di Ricerca e Cura in Italy. The researchers found that men and women who drank a pint of beer every day had a 31 per cent lower risk of heart disease. That may be because beer raises your body’s levels of “healthy” high-density lipoprotein.

2. Watch a Scary Movie

In Saw, various organs get sliced and diced, but the increased heart rate triggered by horror movies may actually strengthen your heart, according to researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

3. Beans, Beans are Good for Your Heart

Eating a minimum of four servings of beans every week can reduce your risk of various forms of heart disease by 22 per cent compared to people who eat one serving of beans or less per week, reports the American Institute for Cancer Research.

4. Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand

The University of North Carolina found that holding hands or hugging someone for 10 minutes reduces your blood pressure. So go ahead, hug the person next to you. However, avoid any touching that could get you in trouble with the police.

5. Laugh

Laughing “is an active process and may have a direct impact on improving the lining of the blood vessels,” Michael Miller, M.D., director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology, tells the University of Maryland Medical Center. Time to stock your Netflix queue with reruns of Big Bang Theory!

6. Urinate More Often

In an unusual study conducted by the Taiwan University, researchers noted that having a full bladder creates stress that constricts your body’s blood flow by 19 per cent and increases your heart rate, which one of the study’s researchers says could be enough heart stress to cause a heart attack.

7. Sip Some Tea

While green tea gets a lot of positive press, black tea is also rich in antioxidants. Both teas can help reduce blood vessel constriction and protect your arteries.

8. Kill Your Neighbors

Noisy neighbors can be a downer, literally. A study in Germany found that people who lived where nighttime noises reached higher than 55 decibels were twice as likely to experience high blood pressure as those who had quieter evening surroundings. For the record, 55 decibels is the average sound level of a suburban street.

9. Start Your Day with Oatmeal

Oatmeal’s high fiber levels scrub your arteries clear, raise your levels of good cholesterol and reduce your levels of bad cholesterol. Make your breakfast even more heart-healthy by adding fiber-rich fruit such as a banana.

10. Stop Reading This Article

A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people who spent more than four hours a day sitting around in front of their computer or TV had a 125 per cent increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

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Damian King lives in Florida but would like it known that he is 40 years younger than the average resident in his community. Damian enjoys all ocean sports except for eating sushi. Let's just say, Finding Nemo was a traumatizing experience.


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