Pura Botanica Blog

Let’s Have a Heart to Heart

February is more than just a month filled with chocolates, flowers, candy hearts and Valentine’s Day cards. In fact, since 1963, the month of February has been declared and celebrated as Healthy Heart Month, in order to urge Americans to join in the battle against heart disease.  Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in the United States? This month, you can give you and your loved ones the gift of a healthy heart by knowing how to keep yours active and healthy.

If you already exercise daily, eat a nutritious diet and keep your stress levels under control, you are on the right path. However, there’s always more research being done that teaches us what keeps a heart strong and healthy for life. Let’s take a look at some of the most surprising, uplifting and promising results that have surfaced since last February.

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Chocolate Makes the Heart Happy!

Most health conscious people will discredit the benefits of chocolate. However, it’s true that chocolate is actually loaded with antioxidants and can even help lower blood pressure! But be careful of the candy bars you buy at the store, as they are usually loaded with added sugars and empty calories. New research published by the British Medical Journal found that consuming chocolate on a regular basis was associated with a 37{021f9daad68019a956363b993e26935938bf8984b24acec29673767c548feca3} decrease in the heart for heart disease and a 29{021f9daad68019a956363b993e26935938bf8984b24acec29673767c548feca3} decrease in the risk of having a stroke. Consuming the right kind of chocolate in small amounts can actually help keep your heart beating strong.

Laughter Helps Blood Flow

Studies have shown that stress and other negative emotions can cause blood vessels to tighten and constrict, reducing the flow of blood. A team of researchers were curious to discover if the opposite reaction was true of positive emotions. They found that when people were shown movie clips from funny comedies versus stressful dramas, the difference in vessel diameter went from 30{021f9daad68019a956363b993e26935938bf8984b24acec29673767c548feca3} up to 50{021f9daad68019a956363b993e26935938bf8984b24acec29673767c548feca3}. “What this means for you is that you want to make sure to eat your vegetables, exercise and get a good belly laugh every day”, says Dr. Michael Miller, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Phoenix.

Take a Yoga Class

Various studies suggest that yoga, given its calming nature, can reduce high blood pressure, lower blood sugar and cholesterol and east stress. Regular yoga practice was found to cut episodes of irregular heartbeat in half and greatly improve the quality of life for those living with abnormal heart rhythms.

Enjoy Happy Hour

People have always been on the fence about whether or not alcohol is actually good for you. The general consensus is that moderate drinking (one drink a day for women and up to two for men) does actually seem to cut your risk for having a heart attack – BUT it’s important how you drink. A study done last September on mice found that binge drinking increased the process of hardening and narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or even worse, a stroke. On the other hand, however, moderate drinking was actually found to decrease these symptoms. As long as you keep your drinking to a casual and controlled level, it can actually do your heart some good.

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When it comes to heart disease, the good news is that is 100{021f9daad68019a956363b993e26935938bf8984b24acec29673767c548feca3} preventable. Although there are risk factors that are sometimes beyond our control, such as family history, age and gender, there are several preventative measures we can take. This month, take some time to research some ways you can ensure a safe and healthy heart long into your old age. Our tips may give you the perfect place to start.

Love,

MissBliss