Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Health Benefits of a Good Laugh

Watch Out!  It's Contagious!
 A joke can be good in more ways than one.  Laughter is actually powerful medicine that my even help prevent heart attacks, according to a study performed by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Their study evaluated healthy individuals and people with heart disease.  They found that the people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations than their healthy counterparts of the same age.  Humor alleviates stress and tension, and patients with mental stress often have other impairments of their blood vessel linings.  The cardiologists speculate that the resulting inflammatory reactions may lead to a fat and cholesterol buildup in the arteries and ultimately to heart disease.

The benefits of laughter extend far beyond the heart, too.  Laughter releases endorphins, causing a feeling of elation.  Laughter also increases blood oxygen levels, which is beneficial for healing, improving circulation and easing headaches.  Hearty laughter massages the heart, lungs and digestive system.

For a healthy heart, body and soul, eat right, exercise and...laugh!

Information from HAP Wise Woman

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