It may seem counterintuitive, but many studies have demonstrated that drinking red wine may be good for the heart. The research varies with regard to what about wine, when enjoyed in moderation (two glasses a day for men and one for women), makes it healthy, but one study determined the heart benefits can be linked to both the alcohol and the antioxidants found in red grapes. The American Heart Association agrees, and says “people who don’t have health conditions that can be aggravated by drinking alcohol — like liver disease, pancreatitis, or heart failure — may enjoy alcohol in moderation.” If taking up wine is not something you can or want to do, a good alternative is drinking grape juice made from red Concord grapes.
A great habit not to break in the New Year is having regular sex. According to WebMD, “having sex could lower your stress and your blood pressure.” Results from a Scottish study found that people who engaged in sex responded better to stress than those who abstained. Less stress equals lower blood pressure. Other studies have found similar results with regard to sex and stress relief. Bottom line. Do it for your heart.
Something to try: Acupuncture has also shown promise as a heart-healthy habit. Find an acupuncturist near you and ask for a consultation.
Another interesting way to ensure your heart health is to make sure you are maintaining your oral health. Studies have shown people who have gum disease (periodontal disease) are more likely to have coronary artery disease. Other studies have found that bacteria from the mouth may get into the blood and contribute to blocked arteries. These bacteria might also trigger inflammation in the blood vessels. While the jury is still out on a definite connection, it's a good idea to play it safe and see your dentist.
A study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in 2006 showed, for someone with mild to moderate heart failure, dancing was a heart-healthy habit to take seriously. The study found those who “took up waltzing breathed better, exercised longer, and generally felt better. Dancing boosted heart health just as much as exercise.”
For more heart healthy tips
Top 6 habits for heart health
Heart health lessons for kids
10 quick ways to boost your heart
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