FB_Gardein_Image_715x600February is heart month! Celebrate by taking care of your heart and appreciating what an incredible organ it is! Here are some fun facts you might not have known about your heart!

– A healthy diet is the #1 way to take care of your heart. “Bad” cholesterol clogs arteries with plaque. Watch out especially for saturated and trans-fats, not just the cholesterol on nutritional labels.

– Your heart is about the size of two hands clasped together.

– Chocolate is good for your heart! It’s chock full of antioxidant compounds called flavonals, which cause blood vessels to relax and open wider, resulting in lower blood pressure.

– Exercise to work out your circulatory system too! Exercise increases the flexibility of arteries, which reduces atherosclerosis, a hardening that can lead to heart attack. All you need is 30 minutes a day, five times a week. For optimal heart health, don’t spend the other 23½ hours of the day sedentary. Take a five minute walk every hour or so to keep the blood moving!

– There is proof that laughter is the best medicine! A hearty laugh can increase blood flow by 20%, and the lining of blood vessel walls relax and expand – reducing stress.

– The body’s cardiovascular system is more than 60,000 miles longs.

– Studies show people who slept 7 hours a night had less calcium in their arteries than those who slept fewer than 5 hours, or 9 hours or more. So get a good night’s sleep.

– Heartbeat mimics music that you listen to. A slower tempo can have a calming effect.

– Your heart can get younger! “Heart age” is a number based on risk factors, such as diet, lifestyle, and family history. Some factors can’t be changed, but you can improve on others with diet and exercise, lowering your heart age, and keeping you young at heart!

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/10-small-steps-for-better-heart- health