Ask Dr. Nandi: 3 ways laughter can give you a healthier heart

(WXYZ) - We’ve all heard the expression laughter may be the best medicine.  And it turns out, it may also be good for the heart.

It may not surprise you that I love laughter.  It’s just something we should do every day because it uplifts your mood instantly.  And laughter can also affect your heart – research has shown numerous benefits.  It can lower your stress hormones, increase the “good” HDL cholesterol, and may lower inflammation in blood vessels.  And on top of all that, it can also boost your antibody-producing cells – and that can strengthen your immune system.

We all have stress in our lives, and when that happens it causes our blood vessels to tighten.   Laughing helps by lowering stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine.  Our arteries respond in healthier ways by expanding the inner lining of the blood vessels and this increases blood flow.  There’s also a chemical called Nitric oxide that gets released and this can help protect the heart by stopping the cholesterol plaque from forming. 

We should all make a point to focus on laughing during the day and there are a number of simple ways we can include it.  So my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX

  1. In today’s technology-driven world, it’s easy to find comedies, silly videos and funny jokes online.  Or visit your local library for humorous books or movies to read or watch. 
  2. Be sure to spend quality time with those who bring joy to your life.  You’ll reap numerous health benefits when you connect with real people.
  3. Play with a pet or hang with young children.   Their sweet innocence can lighten anyone’s mood and may even encourage you to be silly.
  4. Make a point of looking for humor and invite it by smiling more.  And if you can, try to focus on the lighter side in serious situations which may help you cope better with difficulties.
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