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These 6 Surprising Things May Help Your Heart

Dance away stress and chew on dark chocolate!

Pamela Bump

If your health regimen seems repetitive these days, there are a few unique additions you can make to liven things up while still staying healthy.

Wine: While experts do not condone overdrinking, research shows that it can’t hurt to enjoy a glass in moderation. Studies show dark purple and black grapes—used to make red wine—are high in resveratrol, a compound that regulates blood pressure while preventing arterial clotting and heart disease. Pop the cork!

Adult Coloring Books: For those living in a fast-paced world, putting time into creative activities, such as adult coloring books, can help reduce daily stress. Not only have they shown to increase concentration levels, but they can also help people achieve a relaxed, meditative state.

Dancing: Physical activity is often recommended by doctors, but while you strengthen your heart’s rhythm, you can also keep the beat. In addition to heart health, dancing can also keep you in shape. A 30-minute dance class burns between 130 and 250 calories—about the same as jogging. Find other ways to balance out your body.

Chocolate: Dark and in moderation, this once-controversial sweet may be beneficial to the heart and the taste buds. Researchers say it can reduce blood pressure, improve circulation, lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar. Take a bite.

Laughter: Studies show that laughter releases endorphins, which create a light euphoria. This can elevate stress that may be harmful to heart health. Smile for healthy humor.

Knitting: According to a recent report from the New York Times, studies have shown that the repetitive actions of knitting and sewing induce relaxation while lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Research has also shown that this activity can lower harmful levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Selected Sources: 

“Dancing as a Workout,”, 2014.

"The many health benefits of dancing," by Marjie Gilliam, The Denver Post, 11/27/12.

"The Health Benefits of Knitting," by Jane E. Brody, The New York Times, 1/25/16.

“UNL students find friends and fun in coloring club,” News Net Nebraska, 12/15.