10 Surprising Things You Never Knew About Your Heart

10 Surprising Things You Never Knew About Your Heart

Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

10 Surprising Things You Never Knew About Your Heart

Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

Your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body; it’s what keeps you alive. It beats approximately 100,000 times per day and pumps at least 2,500 gallons of blood daily.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is related to a process called atherosclerosis, a condition that develops when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. The buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. Eventually a blood clot may form; it can stop the blood flow which can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Make sure you exercise regularly, manage your stress levels and consume a diet full of vitamins and nutrients.

Appreciate your heart and take care of it. Keep reading for some surprising facts you never knew about your heart.

1. The size of your heart may surprise you

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According to Cleveland Clinic, “your heart is about the size of your two hands clasped together” and “a normal heart valve is about the size of a half dollar.”

2. Certain foods can improve your heart health


Certain foods such as salmon, broccoli, nuts and spinach can improve your heart health. Salmon contains Omega-3s which have been shown to protect against heart disease. Broccoli promotes the production of enzymes that helps keep your heart strong. Nuts have been said to reduce your risk of developing blood clots that may cause heart attacks. Spinach has been shown to cut the chance of developing heart disease. *Read More: 6 Heart-Healthy Foods You Should Eat All Year Long

3. Your heart can actually break


A study in 2012 found that losing a loved one can bring feelings of grief, anger and depression. In the study, approximately 2,000 heart attack survivors found that attacks were more likely to happen after the death of a family member or close friend.

4. Drinking coffee may help your heart

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It may sound crazy but drinking coffee can actually help your heart. According to WebMD, “a small, new study from Japan suggests that the caffeine in a cup of coffee might help your small blood vessels work better, which could ease strain on the heart.” They also explain, a cup of caffeinated coffee caused a 30 percent increase in blood flow through small vessels in people’s fingertips.

5. You can find your pulse in surprising places


Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. You can track it on your wrists, inside of your elbow, on the side of your neck and the top of your foot (American Heart Association).

6. Excessive sitting has been linked to increased risk of heart disease

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From driving in your car to sitting in your office chair and watching television on the couch, we sit more than we may realize. According to Harvard Health Publications, “some research suggests that it has harmful effects on sugar and fat metabolism, both of which affect a person’s risk of diabetes and heart disease, says Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.”

7. Your heart pumps more blood than you think


According to Mercola.com, your heart pumps about one million barrels of blood during an average lifetime. That’s enough blood to fill more than three super tankers. Fun Fact: A kitchen faucet would need to be turned up all the way for at least 45 years to be equivalent to the amount of blood pumped by the heart in an average lifetime.

8. When you’re born...


The first heart cell in your body starts to beat as early as four weeks.

9. Education affects your heart


There have been several studies that have shown the less education you receive over your lifetime, the higher your risk is for heart disease. “Researchers aren't sure what the connection is, but they think it may have to do with factors such as childhood economic circumstances, chronic illness and intelligence, as well as parental mental health, according to mmn.com.

10. Men and women have different hearts


Men have larger hearts and arteries than women and studies have shown that women’s heart rates are more rapid than men’s.