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Love good for heart, says cardiologist
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If you are in love this Valentine's Day, you have more than one reason to celebrate as scientific theory suggests that a healthy and loving relationship is good for the heart.


Research data suggests that being involved in any type of healthy and close relationship may have a lot of positive health benefits, said Julie Damp, a cardiologist at the U.S. Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, in a press release Tuesday.


"There are a couple of different theories behind why that might be," Damp said.


Most of the theories seem to be related to the fact that people who are married or who are in close and healthy relationships tend to be less likely to smoke, are more physically active and are more likely to have a well-developed social structure.


Along with that, they are more likely to have lower levels of stress and anxiety in their day-to-day lives.


"There is a theory that people who are in loving relationships may experience neuro-hormonal changes that have positive effects on the body, including the cardiovascular system," she said, explaining that there are certain hormone levels in the body that vary depending on the level of an individual's stress and anxiety.


"This has not been proven, but the idea is that being in a relationship that is positive may have positive effects on your cardiovascular system over long periods of time," Damp said.


Dark chocolates and red wine are popular gifts for lovers. Studies suggest they are good for the heart, as well.


Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants have proven positive effects on many different body systems including the cardiovascular system. The high concentration of cocoa in dark chocolate is what offers the flavonoid benefit.


Flavonoids can also be found in red wine. Multiple observational studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption, which is one drink a day for women and one to two for men, is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.


(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2008)


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