Meditation could prevent fatal heart disease, study finds

Spending a few minutes meditating each day could lower your chances of dying from heart disease, a new report has found.

The analysis from the American Heart Association (AHA) found that meditation practices decrease heart disease risk factors. Specifically, they reduce your stress and anxiety levels and lower your blood pressure.

Previous research has linked meditation to a slew of other health benefits, including that of strengthening immunity.

While AHA researchers warn that the surest way to ward off heart disease is still the tried and true lifestyle changes recommended by doctors, they are suggesting that meditation could decrease your chances of developing the fatal illness.

A new study from the American Heart Association has found that meditation can decrease your chances of getting heart disease (file photo)

People are increasingly turning to meditation as a success tool, as research has shown that mindfulness – one of the pillars of the practices – can improve your focus and give you a competitive edge at work.

Meditation has also been proven to reduce inflammation, which can in turn improve your immune system. 

For this study, AHA researchers reviewed previous research to determine whether or not meditation could affect your chances of developing heart disease.

They focused on sitting meditation that did not require physical movement, studying forms that emphasized concepts such as insight, mindfulness, zen and relaxation.

The researchers concluded that meditation is linked to decreased stress, depression and anxiety levels, all of which can lead to heart disease. It can also help you sleep better and positively impact your overall well-being, the report said.

Meditation practices can help people quit smoking, which decreases their chances of having a heart attack, the study added. And it found that it can lower your blood pressure.

Even though the evidence is just beginning to be studied, researchers are encouraging people to try to implement meditation into their schedules to experience these benefits.

Study researcher Dr Glenn Levine spoke about this, adding that there are plenty of resources for people who want to try it to lower their risk of heart disease.

‘Since education on how to meditate is widely available and meditation has little if any risk associated with it, interested people may want to use these techniques, in addition to established medical and lifestyle interventions, as a possible way to lower heart risk,’ Dr Levine said.

But he stressed that the primary treatments for the disease should still be lifestyle changes that have been more thoroughly researched. These include cholesterol therapy, smoking cessation, blood pressure control and physical activity.

Dr Levine said: ‘It’s important that people understand that the benefits remain to be better established and that meditation is not a substitute for traditional medical care.’