If laughing once a day will keep you heart healthy, count us in! And that’s exactly what researchers have discovered: Laughter is good for your heart. It improves blood flow and reduces stress hormones that cause blood vessels to constrict. In one study out of Osaka University in Japan, laughter helped lower participants’ blood pressure over a three-month period.
Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine
The old saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine’ definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart,” said lead researcher Michael Miller, M.D., director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center, in a statement after a UMMC laughter and heart health study. “We don’t know yet why laughing protects the heart, but we know that mental stress is associated with impairment of the endothelium, the protective barrier lining our blood vessels. This can cause a series of inflammatory reactions that lead to fat and cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries and ultimately to a heart attack.”
Build Laughter Into Your Life
To get at least 15 minutes of giggles in each day, watch funny movies, hang with a buddy who tickles your funny bone, catch a comedian at the local comedy club, or check out laughter yoga.
“We know exercising, not smoking and eating foods low in saturated fat will reduce the risk of heart disease,” Dr. Miller said. “Perhaps regular, hearty laughter should be added to the list.”