Sometimes science is a wonderful thing!
Two studies that were presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s conference in Paris found that laughter and chocolate are good for your heart.
Proving that laughter really might be the best medicine, a team of researchers analyzed the way that volunteers reacted to a stressful movie versus a funny movie. While watching the violent battle scenes in “Saving Private Ryan,” subjects had a constriction of their blood vessel linings, which reduced blood flow. But when the same subjects watched “There’s Something About Mary,” the blood vessel linings actually expanded.
“a 30-to-50 percent difference in blood vessel diameter between laughter and mental stress phases,” said Dr. Michael Miller, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “The magnitude of change we saw in the endothelium after laughing was consistent and similar to the benefit we might see with aerobic exercise or statin use. In other words, eat your veggies, exercise and get a good belly laugh every day.”
And in even better news, scientists from the University of Cambridge determined that regular chocolate consumption, either dark or milk, can slash cardiovascular risk by a third. By studying a collection of different research projects that covered over 100,000 patients – comparing the incidence of heart disease to the amount of chocolate consumption for each person, they found that the highest level of chocolate intake was associated with a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease, and a 20 percent drop in strokes, when compared with the chocolate-averse cohort. Although researchers do warn to stay away from many commercial chocolate products, which are loaded with calories that can even cause heart disease (as well as a ton of other health problems like diabetes), this just means you have to seek out the good stuff. No problem!
So the next time you find yourself fighting for the remote to watch that new romantic comedy you’ve been dying to see, just remember to play your trump card – a funny movie is going to give you a head start on heart health!