How meditation can lower heart disease risk

New York: Want to live longer? Meditation may be key. Researchers have found that meditation linked to lower rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and coronary artery disease.

The study, published the American Journal of Cardiology, shows that it may help with blood pressure, cholesterol level, quitting smoking, and overall cardiovascular health.

"I believe in meditation, as it can give us a sense of calm, peace, and stress reduction, leading to improvement of our emotional well-being," said study researcher Chayakrit Krittanawong from the Baylor College of Medicine in the US.

For the findings, the research team looked at data on more than 61,000 survey participants. Of those, almost 6,000 (nearly 10 per cent) said they participated in some form of meditation.

The researchers found that people who meditated had lower rates of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and coronary artery disease, compared with those who did not meditate.

The greatest difference was in coronary artery disease. Those who meditated were 51 per cent as likely as those who didn't to have the disease.

The prevalence of other cardiovascular risks in the meditation group compared with the non-meditation group was 65 per cent for high cholesterol, 70 per cent for diabetes, 76 per cent for stroke, and 86 per cent for high blood pressure.

The researchers controlled for other factors connected to cardiovascular risks, such as age, sex, cigarette smoking, and body mass index. After adjusting for these factors, the effect of meditation was still significant.

"Many types of meditation exist. Most focus on attention and awareness. Meditation has been shown to increase physical and mental relaxation," explained Krittanawong. Practising meditation has been linked to decreased stress, greater mindfulness, and improved psychological health.

According to the researchers, It may even lead to long-term functional and anatomical changes in the brain. Meditation is also simple, cost-effective, and low-risk.

Considering all these factors, the researchers concluded that meditation is "probably" associated with lower prevalence of cardiovascular risk. They noted that the study adds to a growing body of research on the potential benefits of meditation.

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