Super Bowl: fun to watch, bad for your health

If you're a football fan, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest days of the year. But there's increasing evidence that it may be bad for your health, regardless of whether you'll be cheering for the Green Bay Packers or the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend.

Having your team lose the biggest game of the year can be heartbreaking... literally. A 2009 study by the American College of Cardiology shows that fans of the losing team are more likely to suffer heart-related problems and even death in the weeks following the big game. The study showed heart-related deaths for fans of the losing team shot up 15 percent among men and 27 percent among women. At the same time, the data show fans of the winning team seem to have a slight decrease in cardiovascular deaths in the following weeks.

Stress can release adrenaline into your blood stream, which can lead to a heart attack in certain situations, like the death of a spouse or the loss of a job. "I suspect if your team loses a Super Bowl depending on how much you like the team, that could fall into that category," said Dr. Randy Goodroe, a Myrtle Beach cardiologist.

Psychologist Joan Clark says it doesn't even matter if your team is the winner or loser. "Most people don't realize that pleasant stress, pleasant excitement, good stress is just as debilitating to your body and your mind as bad stress."

Clark says when you're stressed or excited, you can lose concentration.

The New England Journal of Medicinereleased a report in 2003 that showed a 41 percent increase in the number of deadly car accidents after the Super Bowl telecast.

Clark says the hype surrounding Super Bowl Sunday can effect everyone, even non-football fans. "It has become the excitement, not even the game anymore. It's, how excited can you get? How many subs can you eat? How many beers can you drink?"

Which brings us to the other non-healthy part of the game.. all those fattening munchies. Some studies indicate that those munchies can quadruple your chance of a heart attack.

Dr. Goodroe says a heart healthy diet is low in fat, high in fiber. "I'm not going to tell you not to have your chips and salsa on Super Bowl Sunday, but you probably shouldn't have two bags of chips and two jars of salsa."

Clark reminds Super Bowl fans, don't invest your body and soul in the game. "It isn't really that important. It's fun, it should be fun, but don't overdo it."

That'll be easier said than done for Steelers and Packer fans this Sunday.

Will you be stressed out over the Super Bowl on Sunday or "as cool as the other side of the pillow", as one popular sports announcer puts it? Let us know what you think. Leave a comment below.