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Tag: blood pressure

Music Helps Improve Heart Health

Studies show that music not only boosts one’s mood, but also helps overall wellness–and may improve heart health. “There is no other stimulus on earth that simultaneously engages our brains as widely as music does,” says Brian Harris, certified neurologic music therapist at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. In addition to engaging the auditory system, music also activates many other parts of the brain, including those responsible for movement, language, attention, memory, and emotion. Harris notes that this global activation happens when listening to music, playing an instrument, or even informally singing in the car or shower.

Music can also alter brain chemistry, and these changes may produce cardiovascular benefits, as evidenced by a number of different studies. Studies have found that listening to music may:

  • Enable people to exercise longer during cardiac stress testing done on a treadmill or stationary bike
  • Improve blood vessel function by relaxing arteries
  • Help heart rate and blood pressure levels to return to baseline more quickly after physical exertion
  • Ease anxiety in heart attack survivors
  • Help people recovering from heart surgery to feel less pain and anxiety.

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Fasting Diets Reduce Risk Factors for CVD

Intermittent energy restriction diets, such as the 5:2 diet fasting diet–during which five days of the week are normal eating days, while the other two restrict calories to 500-600 per day–clears fat from the blood quicker after eating meals than daily calorie restriction diets – reducing an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a new study in the British Journal of Nutrition reports.

In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Surrey examined the impact of the 5:2 diet on the body’s ability to metabolize, as well as clear fat and glucose after a meal and they compared it to the effects of weight-loss achieved by a more conventional daily calorie restriction diet. Previous studies in this field have predominantly focused on blood risk markers taken in the fasted state, which only tend to be, in for the minority of the time, overnight.

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