5 Surprising Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is responsible for one out of four deaths and is the leading cause of death in the United States. We all know that healthy eating, regular exercise, and living an overall healthy lifestyle are keys to significantly reducing our risk of heart disease. But have you heard about the more unusual ways to improve your heart health?

Check out these 5 surprising ways to keep your heart healthy:

1. Spend some time with your four-legged friends.

Recent studies by the American Heart Association show that dog owners tend to live longer, have a lower risk of heart disease, and are less vulnerable to stress. If you don’t have a dog, consider contacting your local animal shelter and ask about volunteer opportunities. Or reach out to friends and neighbors and offer to walk their dogs.

2. Take care of your pearly whites.

Regular flossing and brushing aren’t just about maintaining a beautiful smile. When Columbia University researchers studied 420 adults over three years they discovered that improved gum health directly correlated with a slower rate of plaque buildup in the lining of the wall of the arteries.

3. Catch up on some Zzzzzz.

Getting in your beauty sleep could be one key to lowering your risk of heart disease. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that your risk of coronary artery calcification – a cause of heart disease – declines by 33% for every extra hour of sleep you add to your nightly average. Experts recommend between seven to nine hours a night.

4. Soak your way to good health.

According to a study from Japan, soaking in a hot bath was associated with a 28% lower risk of heart disease. The high temperatures cause blood vessels to dilate, lowering blood pressure. Also, a hot bath is well known for reducing stress, another important factor in improving heart health.

5. Laughter is the best medicine.

When you laugh, your heart rate increases, and you take deeper breaths. This increases the circulation of oxygenated blood through the body and improves vascular function. This proper flow keeps your heart working at a steady pace and decreases your risk of heart disease. Need more laughter in your life – watch a funny movie, call an old friend to share funny memories, or follow your favorite comedian on social media.

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