9:30 AM 13th November 2023
Healthy Heart Tip: Kindness For Heart Health
Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Tip, written by the Health Promotion and Education Team at Heart Research UK
The 13th of November is World Kindness Day, an international day formed in 1998 to promote kindness throughout the world. The idea alone is fantastic, as the more kindness we can get into our lives the better, but did you know that kindness can have a physiological impact on your body and contribute to a healthy heart?
The love hormone
When we witness acts of kindness or do something kind ourselves, we produce a hormone called oxytocin, which is often referred to as the ‘love hormone’. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical that dilates our blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, therefore regularly producing oxytocin can have a protective effect on our heart.
Some studies have shown that those who are consistently kind have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) than those who are not. Long-term high levels of cortisol can negatively impact our cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Therefore, engaging in regular acts of kindness may help keep our stress hormones at bay and protect our heart.
Kindness is contagious and both those who do the kind act and those who witness it can benefit. When we witness a kind act, we experience a boost in mood and some people even report higher energy, this makes us much more likely to commit a kind act ourselves. Furthermore, when you carry out an act of kindness, you indirectly have a positive impact on the heart health of those who are observing, as they too receive a surge of the cardioprotective ‘love hormone’, oxytocin.
To help keep your heart healthy, why not try out some of the Healthy Heart recipes from the website: https://heartresearch.org.uk/heart-research-uk-recipes-2/
Or have a look through the Healthy Heart cookbook filled with recipes from top chefs, celebrities and food bloggers:
Heart Research UK
Proud to stand out from the crowd, Heart Research UK is the charity dedicated to your heart. They inspire and invest in pioneering medical research, ground-breaking training and education, and in communities to improve their heart health for themselves. For over 50 years they have driven advancements in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease to benefit patients as soon as possible.