Everyone has a way to de-stress, such as getting a massage, shopping, traveling, or dining out with friends. While all these can keep you relaxed and re-invigorated, there’s one leisure activity that can do wonders for your heart, that is watching funny flicks.
In a small study participated by healthy men and women with normal blood pressure, watching a funny movie caused blood vessels to dilate, thereby, increasing blood flow by about 22 percent. Whereas, the participants exposed to action movie were found to have decreased blood flow by about 35 percent.
Blood vessels are lined with a protective layer of cells called endothelium where the production of nitric oxide mainly takes place. When the endothelium is well nourished nitric oxide is produced at optimal levels and blood flows freely, thereby, nurturing the heart along with every other organ.
Your ability to laugh in watching hilarious flicks is what makes your blood vessels to relax and dilate which may help protect you against heart attack. Although it’s not yet fully known why laughing protects the heart, experts agree that mental stress is associated with the impairment of the endothelium. An impaired endothelium can trigger a series of inflammatory reactions that lead to fat and cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries and ultimately to a heart attack.