Maintaining good heart health can seem like a chore. Eat a healthy diet. Hit the gym more often. Watch your weight. Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol down.
Keeping your heart healthy will help you enjoy life for a longer period of time—and what is life for if not a little enjoyment? Although diet, exercise and healthy habits are all crucial for good heart health, you can have a little more fun while taking care of your heart. Incorporate these three steps into your life!
Dagoba's organic chocolate bars and baking products will help you on your way to heart-health fun. Photo Courtesy Dagoba Organic Chocolate.
1. Indulge in dark chocolate
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but so does a square of dark chocolate—and, honestly, which one would you rather have? Dark chocolate is rich in flavanoids, a type of antioxidant, and when eaten in small quantities, dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and increase good cholesterol. A recent study found that eating one square of a 100-gram (3.5 oz) dark chocolate bar each day decreases your risk of a heart attack or stroke by 39 percent. So go ahead and indulge—but just a little!
2. Drink a glass of wine.
Like dark chocolate, red wine has a high content of flavonoids, helping to increase levels of good cholesterol and lower the risk for heart disease. Wine also causes the arteries to expand, which in turn can help lower blood pressure. But, like dark chocolate, the key to wine’s health benefits is in moderation. One glass a day should suffice; any more than that and the effects are reversed, causing your blood pressure to rise.
One glass of red wine each day can boost your heart health. Photo By Emiliano De Laurentiis/Courtesy Flickr.
3. Get intimate.
Nothing gets the blood flowing more than a good romp in the hay, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that regular sex can benefit our hearts. People who have sex once or twice every two weeks have lower blood pressure and a significantly decreased risk for heart disease than those who have sex less than once a month. Sex not only provides a fun and engaging form of exercise, but it also releases a hormone called oxytocin that can reduce stress.
Susan Melgren is the Web Editor of Mother Earth Living. Find her on Google+.