4 Small Things You Can Do That May Help Improve Your Heart Health
Incorporating an exercise routine into your life is a great way to keep your heart healthy. But it’s not the only way. If you’ve always wanted to improve your heart health by doing small, simple things each day, you can! And that’s great news, now that Johns Hopkins research found avoiding heart disease lowers the risk of COVID-19 complications by up to 80 percent. Here are some no-sweat secrets that protect your ticker.
Snack like a kid.
Smearing peanut butter on apples, celery, or crackers isn’t just for children. In a Harvard study, adults who enjoyed five tablespoons of the creamy treat each week cut their heart disease risk by 44 percent. Credit goes to healthy monounsaturated fats in peanuts, which your liver uses to make “good” HDL cholesterol that keeps arteries clear. Not a fan of nut butter? Nibbling a handful of peanuts five times weekly does the trick to help heart health too!
Listen to someone else laugh, and you can’t help but join in. That’s good news since Norwegian research reveals doing so makes you up to 73 percent less likely to suffer from fatal heart disease. Experts explain that laughter releases nitric oxide in blood vessels, which widens them and takes pressure off the heart. For videos of people laughing that are guaranteed to get a guffaw going, search “can’t stop laughing” on YouTube.
Kick back with a beer.
When it comes to enhancing heart health, red wine gets all the credit. But research shows modest amounts of any type of alcohol protect against blood clots and keep blood vessels flexible. In fact, U.K. scientists found sipping three to four eight ounce servings of beer or wine per week lowered participants’ odds of heart troubles by 36 percent. So, pour your favorite winter ale and drink to good health! (Just be sure to speak to your doctor first. A doctor may not recommend drinking beer, especially if it alcohol interacts with certain medications you are taking.)
Defend with D.
Avoiding a vitamin D deficiency cuts heart disease risk by up to 55 percent, new findings in the European Heart Journal suggest that vitamin D nourishes heart tissues and protects against high blood pressure that can set heart disease in motion. Experts advise taking 2,000 to 4,000 IUs of vitamin D3 daily.
As always, check with your primary care doctor before taking any serious medical advice. While we cannot claim that laughing every day or enjoying a spoonful of delicious peanut butter will completely heal your body, it will certainly do wonders for your soul!
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.