Love Improves Heart Health

valentinesSatisfaction may be elusive on this Hallmark holiday, but heart health isn’t.  According to Dr. Cynthia Thaik, a Harvard-trained cardiologist, to have optimal cardiovascular health, your emotional and spiritual heart is just as important as your physical heart.

I recently stumbled upon Dr. Cynthia’s site and must admit I am both intrigued and terrified by her approach to heart health. She encourages her patients to think about heart health holistically – body and mind.

As you likely guessed, it’s the mind part that terrifies me. After all, I am a guy. I have the nutrition and fitness parts pretty well down. However, I am still quite mental and avoid introspective thoughts like the plague. In a moment of weakness, I just purchased her book. I will let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, Dr. Cynthia offers up a number of ways love can improve your heart health:

  1. Love improves self-esteem, which leads to better self-care. Can’t you go blind from too much self-care?
  1. Love is a great antidote to stress. Love encourages your body to produce oxytocin, the “feel-good” or “love” hormone. You hear that Rush Limbaugh oxytocin, not OxyContin (cabbage).
  1. Love decreases anxiety and staves off depression, which subsequently reduces the signs and symptoms of heart disease. Fine line here – ask any married couple.
  1. Love decreases inflammation, improves your immune system, and can be a potent pain reliever. This is based on a recent study at Ohio State that showed that people who are lonely develop more viruses than those that are well connected.  But be careful, those that are well connected are more susceptible to transmitted diseases!
  1. Sleeping next to someone you love makes you feel more relaxed, which helps you to sleep better. What if there are 40 pillows piled between you and your spouse?

Bottom line, love is important. Doesn’t matter if it’s love of someone, something, or yourself. Find something to love and improve your heart health. It’s that or a bunch of melted chocolate and a magic moneymaker.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

References:

Thaik, Dr. Cynthia. “Love Heals!” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2015.