Live Better
 
 

The human heart

In the big band that is the human body, the heart is obviously the drummer.

Female hands giving red heart

While the brain gets all the attention, broadcasting its manic thoughts from the front, the heart is content toiling away in the background – or closer to the center – building a steady groove with the lungs and other major organs, and keeping that most ancient and vital beat.

If you’re an engineer, you might label it nothing more than a simple pump. Four chambers and a few valves hooked up to an electrical current. Blood goes in and blood goes out. Easy.

But if you’re a philosopher, you’d probably argue there’s much more going on. The heart is actually the seat of the soul, the space where thoughts are transformed into emotion and a segment of the body that – depending on the context – is able to amplify our fear or excitement with its hammering rhythm.

Hearts come in all shapes and sizes. The blue whale has one as large as a car. A python’s only has three chambers. And nowadays, dodgy parts of our own can be bypassed, rebuilt, like the engine from an old Datsun, and even transplanted from one person to another without too much fanfare.

 

Historically, we used to eat a lot more heart than we do today. Being a super lean muscle, it’s a really healthy choice. Beef heart in smoked chilli and white wine vinegar is not an easy sell, but it’s starting to appear on a few Australian menus, mostly around the hipper suburbs in the big cities.

 

While other muscles have always got the glory – yes, we’re looking at you biceps – nothing exists without the hardest pumping muscle of all. Unlike other more attractive body parts, the human heart is the only one to have transcended and become the star of well-known sayings, the symbol of romantic affection, with a heap of commercial power, and a popular tattoo design.

Just a few reasons why we decided to give it some love this issue.

Recommended Reading

6 ways to lose weight – and keep it off for good

Professor David Cameron-Smith reveals the science.

Read more

How to choose the best backpack

Don’t struggle under the weight – choose the right gear.

Read more

The best places to travel in Vietnam

Vietnam is full of timeless beauty to discover.

Read more

Can social media ruin your social life?

What’s social media doing to your mental state?

Read more

Nature vs nurture: siblings and mental health

Why mental health differs from sibling to sibling

Read more

How should you talk to young men about mental health?

The Black Dog Institute shares some advice.

Read more

How to make easy, natural home products

‘Granny skills’ advocate Rebecca Sullivan shares some ideas.

Read more