February is American Heart Month, and now is the perfect time to brush up on your heart health knowledge. We all know a healthy diet and exercise promote a healthy heart, but here are a few lesser-known tips to keep your ticker in tip-top shape:
- Laugh a Little: Stress and anxiety cause the blood vessels to constrict, while laughter and positive emotions have the opposite effect.
- Beat the Odds: While some people are born with a greater risk of developing heart disease, due to family history, new research has shown that healthy lifestyle choices (such as a diet including lots of raw fruits and vegetables) could outweigh genetic predispositions for the disease.
- Be Sweet: Research in the British Medical Journal found that eating chocolate (which is packed with antioxidants) on a regular basis can decrease heart disease risk. But make sure you’re eating it in moderation–excessive sugar is still harmful to your health.
For more tips: Huffington Post | Heart Health Month