Comedies Are Good for Your Heart

But war movies aren't

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 29, 2011 6:56 PM CDT

(Newser) – To give your heart a boost, turn on The Hangover—but make sure you avoid Halloween. Movies that make you chuckle are good for your vascular function, while stressful war and horror movies hurt your system, a study finds. Researchers showed bits of funny movies one day and the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan another day. When subjects viewed the comedies, the lining of their vessels expanded.

Just the opposite happened while watching the war film: Their blood vessel lining constricted, lessening blood flow. The two states—stressed and laughing—resulted in a 30% to 50% difference in blood vessel diameter, the Daily Mail reports. “The magnitude of change we saw in the endothelium after laughing was consistent and similar to the benefit we might see with aerobic exercise or statin use,” said a researcher. “The take-home message here is that laughter is great for your heart.”

In this film publicity image released by Universal Pictures, Robert De Niro, left, and Ben Stiller are shown in a scene from Little Fockers.
In this film publicity image released by Universal Pictures, Robert De Niro, left, and Ben Stiller are shown in a scene from "Little Fockers."   (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Glen Wilson)
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