HealthONE - October 25, 2017

You may not like getting a flu shot every year, but it has more benefits than simply guarding against a sore throat, congestion, body aches and fever. The flu vaccine may also protect your heart against heart attack, heart failure, heart disease and other serious heart problems.

In studies containing nearly 7,000 participants, an analysis found that individuals who had the flu vaccine were 36 percent less likely to have a heart attack or heart-related hospitalization, compared to individuals who did not receive a flu shot. Participants with a history of heart disease had a 55 percent lower risk, and heart disease-related fatalities were reduced by 20 percent.

Why Your Heart Loves the Flu Shot

As your body fights off a flu infection, uncomfortable aches and pains are caused by inflammation in your body. Inflammation can lead to a heart attack or similar cardio event by triggering plaques in the arteries to erupt. The flu vaccine protects you from harmful inflammation caused by the flu virus.

Already have a flu shot?

If you already have a flu shot, there are other surprisingly simple ways to protect your heart health, including:

  • Safeguarding your smile. Research shows that flossing regularly may help prevent heart disease. 
  • Trying turmeric. Turmeric is shown to help prevent arterial plaques from forming in the blood vessels. 
  • Taking a vacation. Stress-reducing vacations may actually help prevent heart disease.
  • Eating dark chocolate. Chocolate with high cocoa content contains flavonoids that may help protect against heart disease.