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Valentine's Day Indulgences Can Be Heart Healthy
Date:2/9/2009

at is it about grapes? The effect of the grapes is thought to be from the high level of phytochemicals -- naturally occurring antioxidants -- that grapes contain.

As for tart cherries, both animal studies and new clinical studies have examined their benefits. "A 'tart, heart-smart diet' has shown to be very beneficial in terms of heart health, heart function and also really reducing belly fat and changing your metabolic obesity syndrome, all very helpful," Bolling says.

Animals that received powdered tart cherries in their diet had lower total cholesterol, lower blood sugar, less fat storage in the liver, lower oxidative stress and increased production of a molecule that helps the body handle fat and sugar. Cherries were found to alter these factors that can lead to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

There are other activities associated with Valentine's Day that are heart-healthy, including massage. In the hospital setting, massage therapy is used to help patients and their families relax and reduce anxiety. Reducing stress and anxiety has long been linked with benefiting the heart.

"There is proven research that indicates that massage itself is beneficial in the post-operative state, in hospitalized patients to reduce stress and anxiety and even probably to reduce blood pressure," Bolling says.

It's possible to set the mood for a romantic and heart-healthy Valentine's Day.

"All of these indulgences really do not have to be limited to Valentine's Day itself and certainly will lead to a much better heart-health status if we practice them everyday," Bolling says.

For more information:

University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center: http://www.med.umich.edu/cvc/

Massage therapy at UMHS:
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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