A body – mind practice long calms the mind, and some believe that meditation can also benefit your heart. Though there is limited research available on cardiovascular health and meditation, there are a few studies available that suggest taking up meditation regularly can boost your heart’s defense against various diseases.
How Can Meditation Enhance Your Heart Health?
Meditation involves focused attention on a soothing and calming sound, object, thought, visualization, mantra, or moment. Compassion, mindfulness, and breath awareness are major components of meditation.
Meditation is practiced to reduce stress, which is a major risk factor for heart ailments. There is some evidence available that confirm meditation is an excellent way to revive up activity within the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for lowering blood pressure as well as maintaining healthy heart condition.
Stress and anxiety can affect people in different ways. But when stress is excessive it results in problems like elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, overeating, physical inactivity, all of which can lead to heart stroke and disease.
But mindfulness meditation can help to not only combat anxiety and stress but even other chronic health conditions. It can boost the immune system, reduce pain, and soothe inflammation in chronic ailments. Also, it can help boost gray matter in the brain, enhance concentration and focus, encourage willpower, and reduce loneliness.
What does the Research Say?
According to the studies on meditation, it is considered to offer a benefit on heart ailment risk reduction. This is confirmed by a report publishes by the American Heart Association, AHA, in 2017. The study further confirms that meditation is associated with reduced anxiety, depression, and stress, and enhances sleep quality as well as the overall well being of a person.
While the review published by the research suggests that meditation is also helpful to lower high blood pressure, aid people who quit smoke, and can even reduce the various risk factors associated to heart strokes, but still researches are going on to reach to a final conclusion. In the meantime, the researchers suggest that meditation is a cost-efficient, healthy, and easy to practice the way that can be used together with other conventional therapies, like exercise, diet, and more to maintain the overall health of the body.
The study presented by AHA reviewed 200 people suffering from coronary artery ailment who participated in the transcendental meditation, which is a kind of meditation that involves sitting with closed eyes and repeating a specific mantra. After the duration of five years and regularly practicing meditation, there was a massive improvement in the number of heart strokes or attacks. The number of people falling ill due to health issues was reduced greatly in those in the meditation group.
Are there Other Studies Available?
There are further studies available and one more example is a report published in 2015 in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology. Within the report, the researchers analyzed the earlier published clinical trials on the mind-body practices, like meditation. In the review, the researchers identified that such interventions resulted in improved quality of life, less anxiety, depression, and blood pressure levels within the individuals.
Meditation can help improve not just heart health but even the overall well-being of a person. Meditation combined with exercises and other activities can help combat various issues of the body. Depression, stress, and anxiety are major causes of heart strokes, and when meditation is able to manage them then it creates a good effect on the heart’s health.
The Bottom Line
Though more research is still ongoing and needed to unleash the potential benefits of meditation on heart health, sure it can have a great positive impact on your overall well-being. In addition to meditation, one can also practice tai chi and yoga to alleviate stress and anxiety and enhance heart health.
Author Bio: Amit Shah is a renowned Diet and Nutrition Counsellor from Mumbai, India and the founder of frommonday.in. Where most nutritionists, doctors and dieticians focus on weight loss as the primary component of healthy living; Amit’s focus is on helping you discover and decipher a sustainable, long term plan for yourself, that takes into account your existing lifestyle, eating and activity habits and even your dietary preferences to come up with a unique, customized solution for you.