Summertime and the livin’ is easy — and good for your heart health! That’s because summer fun thins your blood, which new research suggests wards off blood clots, a common complication of COVID-19. Here’s how:
Kick Off Your Shoes
Whenever you walk barefoot (on grass, sand, dirt) your body absorbs electrons — tiny, healing particles that lower blood pressure and prevent blood stickiness, plus energize virus-fighting immune cells, says cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, MD, coauthor of Earthing ($5.93, Amazon). And British scientists say strolling around the yard for 20 minutes daily can reduce your risk of heart-damaging clots by 40 percent.
Relax With Iced Tea
That tall glass of iced tea can help your heart beat easier with every sip! According to University of Wisconsin researchers, 16 oz. of tea daily will cut your risk of a heart attack–triggering clot by up to 55 percent. Thanks goes to tea compounds (polyphenols) that make blood platelets slippery so they can’t clump together. Tip: A splash of lemon doubles polyphenol absorption.
Lounge on the Patio
Nodding off in the afternoon? Go for it! Eight studies suggest a little extra shut-eye can lower your risk of blood clots by 50 percent. Explains cardiologist Kay Kario, MD, sleep is your body’s prime time to heal damaged arteries and break down clot-triggering inflammation.
Bonus: Snoozing out in the sun will boost your body’s production of vitamin D — a nutrient that Boston University researchers say heightens immunity to the novel coronavirus by 64 percent!
Snack on This
A handful of nuts is a boon for your heart, thanks to their abundant healthy fats. Even better? Just one Brazil nut. These nuts are packed with selenium — a mineral that University of North Carolina researchers say not only thins blood, preventing risky clots, it also triples your immune system’s ability to fight off the virus that causes COVID-19!
Find a Reason to Smile
Grinning tells the brain to slow the production of stress hormones that make blood cells sticky, say University of Michigan researchers, preventing blood clots!
Put Your Feet Up
Your fitness tracker may be pushing you to take 10,000 steps daily, but Harvard researchers say you only need to walk half that to cut your risk of heart health troubles by 40 percent. And that means you can put up your feet on hot, sticky days, guilt-free!
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This story originally appeared in our print magazine.