A good sense of humor may help protect you against a heart attack, according to recent discoveries by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The study suggests that laughter may help prevent heart disease by improving blood vessel tone.
Laughter stimulates the circulation and helps your blood vessels function better by acting on the endothelium, the protective lining of the vessels, causing them to open and increase blood flow. Laughter may also help prevent cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries that leads to a heart attack because it reduces stress.  In other words, a good laugh is good for your heart.
Research also found that people with heart disease were less likely to recognize humor or use it to ease tense situations. For the most part they laughed less, even in positive situations and they showed more anger. There have not been any negative effects observed that correspond with laughter. 
“Looking at life through the lens of humor is good for your health”. – L. E.
“We know that exercising, not smoking and eating foods low in saturated fat will reduce the risk of heart disease. Perhaps regular, hearty laughter should be added to the list.” – Dr. Micheal Miller, Univ. of Maryland School of Medicine.
Invite Laughter Into Your Life
Make a date with laughter, daily. Read something funny or watch a funny video or television show. Researchers have found the even the anticipation of experiencing laughter created feel good hormones that boost the immune system.
When I was a kid, I looked forward to laughing with “The Three Stooges.” Today, my daughter watches a modern version of their TV show. God bless her, she likes me to watch it with her. “Impractical Jokers” is pretty outrageous. It’s sort of like the ‘naughty’ Four Stooges meet Candid Camera. I sometimes complain that watching their crazy pranks will, “rot my brain” but, as Lindsay is quick to point out, I am usually laughing the loudest! We both enjoy watching reruns of “King of Queens” on a Saturday morning. Great bonding time!
Actually, humor is good for the brain. A study by John Hopkins University found humor improves test score results. 
American Heart Health Month
This is American Heart Health Month. Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S but it doesn’t have to be.
Diet and Exercise
With the help of nutrition experts from The Cleveland Clinic and the American Dietetic Association, here is a list of the top 25, “best of the best” heart-healthy foods. These 25 foods are loaded with heart-healthy nutrients that help protect your heart and blood vessels. 
The benefits of diet and exercise for the heart are well documented. Researchers from the University of South Carolina found that adult men, who had little physical activity throughout the day, had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease compared with men who were living a more active lifestyle. My friend, Christl, reduced her cholesterol by 100 points in one month through diet and exercise.
Facts also support the idea that, “yoga can help reduce such cardiovascular risks as insulin resistance, high blood pressure and blood vessel inflammation.” For the 2.7 million Americans diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, “yoga may be especially helpful.”  Since I teach yoga, this is very good to hear.
Did you ever hear of laughing yoga? Laughing yoga and laughter clubs are where people get together to laugh without using jokes. It’s coached laughing. They laugh for the health of it!  Babies laugh and do yoga before they can walk or speak. It comes to them naturally. They laugh without having to get the joke. We were created to laugh!
Be a Friend
Togetherness strengthens heart health. A University of New York at Oswego investigation found that blood pressure dropped when one spent time with a spouse or partner. Engaging with other people does seem to help the heart, so what could be more awesome for the heart than sharing unconditional love and taking a yoga class together?
“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body;
jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” – Proverbs 14:30 (NLT)
Recall Funny Moments
Looking at this photo of my former boss, Dean Martin, I can’t help but smile. Dean spent the latter part of his TV career celebrating comedy in The Dean Martin Comedy Hour and the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. Dean was smart; he got paid to laugh. Being one of his “Golddiggers” during that time, I guess I did too. What a blessing!
Watching some of his old video clips still make me chuckle. Humor was a big part of Dean’s charm, on and off the set. My sister, Maria and I spent almost two decades working with him. Oh, the stories we can tell!
If you are interested in Dean Martin, The Golddiggers, Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, The Rat Pack or the legends of 1970’s television and Las Vegas, you will find our book BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS, interesting and entertaining.
BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS contains over 350 photos.
Entertainers and musicians across a wide spectrum of the industry have contributed to the stories in this book.
“It is an inside look at show business told in a very real way.”
http://www.beyondourwildestdreams.com/ for more info.
To read reviews and purchase on Amazon
Laughter is good medicine. Wishing you lot’s of laughter and a heart full of love,
Linda Alberici Eichberg
“When my heart whispered, “Seek God,” my whole being replied, ‘I’m seeking him!'” – Psalm: 27:8 (MSG)
1) University Of Maryland School Of Medicine Study Shows Laughter Helps Blood Vessels Function Better http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050309111444.htm
2) Laughter Good For Heart | University of Maryland Medical Center
3) Laughing for the health of it http://www.bhg.com/health-family/mind-body-spirit/stress-relief/laughing-for-the-health-of-it/
4) A randomized trial of humor effects on test anxiety and test performance -RONALD A. BERK and JOY NANDA http://www.ronberk.com/articles/2006_randomized.pdf
5) 25 Top Heart Healthy Foods http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/25-top-heart-healthy-foods
6) Heart Healthy Habits Now http://abcnews.go.com/Health/heart-healthy-habits-now/story?id=22554990
7) Laughing to the Future: Hugh McClellland at TedXPenticton – http://youtu.be/28ZSsH3UFWM
DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog, reflecting my personal opinions and its contents are not intended to offer personal medical advice. All content is copyrighted and may not be used without written permission.