Monday, April 15, 2013

Pay It Forward for a Healthy Heart!

Yes, there are foods to eat (and avoid) for a healthier heart. There are general healthy lifestyle practices, like regular exercise and not smoking, that keep your ticker ticking, too.

But a healthier heart needn't always be so medical. A recent study found that volunteering -- a practice long known for its feel good benefit -- has a physical payoff, too, at least for the heart.

Canadian researchers followed 106 volunteering high school students for 10 weeks and discovered cholesterol, BMI and inflammation dropped after their opportunity for service compared to a group of their peers who didn't get the chance to give back, Everyday Health reported.

And the heart benefits are likely tied to volunteering's physical and mental benefits, according to the study's author.

"The volunteers who reported the greatest increases in empathy, altruistic behaviour and mental health were the ones who also saw the greatest improvements in their cardiovascular health," Hannah Schreier, Ph.D., said in a statement.

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