Health MATTERS: of the Heart

I’m no expert but here are a few questions readers were curious about…

Q. Does your heart really stop when you sneeze?

Ans. You first take a deep breath and hold it, which tightens your chest muscles and it certainly feels like it stops for a second or two, but No, it does not.

taken from the Nurses Shift Website.  Link:
Taken from the Nurses Shift health/wellness Website.  See link below.

Q. Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

Ans. Did you mean absinthe?  Yes, that one does!

As far as having a long distance relationship or just not seeing your partner for a while goes, it can help to create more intimacy when you first see them again than when you are with someone every single day.  But, if it goes on for longer than 6 months you will probably find someone else before you see your significant other again.

Q. Which sex has the strongest heart?

Ans. When it comes to matters of the heart, men and women definitely aren’t created equal. For instance, a man’s heart weighs about 10 ounces, while a woman’s heart weighs approximately 8 ounces.

Not only is a woman’s heart smaller than a man’s, but the signs that it’s in trouble are a lot less obvious. When women have a heart attack — and more than a half million do each year — they’re more likely to have nausea, indigestion, and shoulder aches rather than the hallmark chest pain. Remember, heart disease is the #1 killer of both men and women so both genders should heed this healthy advice: Don’t smoke, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, and watch for the obvious and the more subtle warning signs your heart could be in trouble.

I am happy to be able to answer your questions.


health MATTERS – of the Heart

heart9 (2)A heartfelt message:

Yesterday you probably overindulged by eating too much chocolate and maybe drinking too much wine….which is exactly what you were supposed to be doing on Valentine’s Day. Anything that makes you feel good and you don’t do to excess (can someone please explain what over-excess means?) should be allright for you.  But if you want to know which of the good stuff in general is okay to help maintain a healthy heart then read on.. it’s really very enlightening to find out these things:

heart3Eat chocolate.

No guilt required. Rich, dark chocolate not only tastes delicious, the flavonoids it contains can help stave off heart disease according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Preliminary research by Johns Hopkins also suggests that chocolate can positively affect blood clotting.

heart2Raise a glass.

Moderate consumption of alcohol can raise your HDL (good cholesterol) levels, reduce blood clot formation, and help prevent artery damage. Some studies say red wine offers more benefits than other alcoholic beverages. Other studies conflict with this. The answer is moderation. Talk to your doctor about potential benefits and risks.

Play between the sheets.

from images
from images

…Or on top of the sheets, or in the kitchen, or wherever! Yes, having sex can be heart healthy. A number of studies show that sexual activity adds more than pleasure to your life. It can actually lower your blood pressure and your risk for developing heart disease.

heart8Be a kid.

Fitness doesn’t have to be boring. Plan an evening out roller skating or bowling. Do both, and you can burn (on average) around 600 calories, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Consider pet therapy.heart6

Our pets give us more than unconditional love; they offer numerous health benefits. Studies reported by the National Institute of Health show that owning pets can lower the rate of dying from heart disease and possibly improve heart and lung function..

Cropped portrait man with earphonesLet the music move you.

Whether it’s a rumba beat or a two-step tune that gets your body moving, dancing raises your heart rate, burns some calories (between 150-300 calories an hour), and makes for a great heart-healthy workout.


Good dental hygiene does more than keep your pearly whites glistening. It may affect your overall health. Research from Harvard suggests that several types of cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, may be connected to oral health.

smile2Fake your fitness.

It’s a no-brainer that exercise is good for your coronary health, so why not sneak it in at every opportunity? Park on the far side of the parking lot, take the stairs, walk and talk with a friend instead of e-mailing, or play with your kids at the park instead of just watching them. Every little bit adds up to better health.

heart7 (2)Power up your salsa.

A good salsa rich in antioxidants is a great snacking choice when paired with low-fat chips or fresh veggies. When you mix in a can of rinsed and drained black beans, you get a two-for-one special: according to the Mayo Clinic, adding soluble fiber into your diet helps lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. Add a dash of lime juice and a chopped jalapeno for an extra kick that will jumpstart your metabolism.

heart4Go nuts.

Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and other tree nuts deliver a powerful punch for lowering your risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. The American Heart Association suggests that substituting foods high in saturated fats with nuts helps reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol.

heart1Go fish.

Studies have shown that including fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (i.e. salmon, herring, sardines, and tuna) into your diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by a third or more. To those concerned about the *mercury content or other contaminants in fish, *the Mayo Clinic states that the heart healthy benefits outweigh the possible risks of exposure to toxic elements.

heart7Brew up a heart healthy potion.

No magic is needed when you sip green or black tea. Studies from Harvard University and the National Institute of Health (NIH) that focus on black and green varieties show that drinking tea can improve arterial health.


Not in an e-mail,, not on Twitter or Facebook, but really: laugh out loud. Whether you like watching Family Guy or Seinfeld reruns, if it gets you chuckling, it’s good for your heart. Research from the Univeristy of Maryland Medical Center shows that laughter helps relieve the stress that damages the endothelium, the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels and helps your blood flow. It also promotes the healthy function of blood vessels.

heart3 (2)Stretch it out.

Practicing yoga makes you more limber and helps you relax, which combats stress. However, according to recent research from the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, it also positively affects the heart rate variability (HRV), which is an indicator for heart health.

heart5Move it, move it, move it.

A new study from Australia found that sitting for long periods of time could shorten your life regardless of your body weight. It appears that being a couch potato has an unhealthy influence on blood fats and blood sugar. At the office, work in “get up” breaks, and go for a stroll.

Let your housework work for you.heart9 (3)

Vacuuming or mopping the floors may not be as invigorating as a Body Slam or Zumba class, but these activities and other household chores do burn calories. Put your favorite music on, and put some pep in your weekly chores.

heart10Find your happy place.

A sunny outlook is good for your heart. Research from the University College London shows that those who are happy tend to have lower levels of the potentially harmful hormone cortisol and other stress-inducing chemicals.

Now that doesn’t sound too bad does it?

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