When it comes to taking care of the heart and protecting ourselves against heart disease, the advice of experts is clear: physical exercise and diet. It has been scientifically proven that eating a heart-healthy diet, rich in seasonal fruits and vegetables, fish rich in omega 3, nuts and olive oil, is beneficial for heart health.
Eating and limiting saturated fats is important in preventing cardiovascular risk. We found that some nuts or oily fish have been proven, under scientific scrutiny, in their cardiovascular properties. Many studies determining what foods and how many servings of them we should eat each week to prevent heart attacks occur every year.
The same thing happens with exercise: hundreds of researches suggest that by taking a few steps a day or doing a little training, the cardiovascular improvement is very significant. Specifically, the World Health Organization advises doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
All that is already known. However, pioneering research of this kind has found a very simple way to experience improvements in the heart. In particular, laughter therapy has been proven to be able to improve the condition of patients with coronary artery disease.
Laughter is good for heart health
Due to a buildup of plaque on the wall of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, coronary artery disease is one of the most common diseases in the world. From medications to surgery, there are many interventions that can help treat this life-threatening condition.
However, the new study, presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Amsterdam, Netherlands, suggests that laughter can also help. The research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that laughter therapy can increase the functional capacity of the cardiovascular system, which includes the heart, lungs, arteries and veins.
The research team noted a reduction in inflammation and improvement in heart health indicators in patients with coronary artery disease who participated in a course of this therapy. And what does the session consist of? There is nothing more and nothing less than watching two comedy television shows every week, chosen by themselves.
Watching comedies is good for the heart
Coronary artery disease occurs when the heart’s coronary arteries struggle to supply the organ with enough blood, oxygen, and nutrients. According to the study, laughing sessions can cause the tissue inside the heart to expand, which increases the flow of oxygen to the body.
Observing 26 adults with an average age of 64 years from August 2016 to December 2020, the research team measured the subjects’ oxygen consumption and the dilation of their main artery when the blood flow increases.
In addition, they also measured the levels of molecules in the body of patients, which indicate inflammation, such as interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM ) and the intercellular adhesion molecule. (ICAM).
Thirteen of the study participants were assigned to a group that underwent laughter therapy by watching two self-selected television comedy shows per week, while the other 13, who served as the control group , watching “neutral documentaries.”
The findings revealed an increase in maximum body oxygen consumption and improvement in tissue function as well as body inflammation markers in the group that watched sitcoms. This research is the first controlled clinical trial evaluating the effect of rehabilitation through laughter therapy on patients with coronary artery disease.
Additionally, the study supports previous research suggesting that a good laugh causes the body to release endorphins, which are hormones that reduce stress and inflammation and help relax the heart and blood vessels.
Based on these new results, scientists believe that laughter therapy can be an “effective form of cardiac rehabilitation in this patient population.” You may be interested: This is what your mouth says about your cardiovascular health