Meditation is your heart’s best friend and we have the science to prove itUpdated on: 7 May 2021, 23:28 pm IST
We all know how good meditation is for the mind. From lowering stress and anxiety to helping boost your memory—hell, meditation can also fight certain addictions. But what many people don’t know is that mediation also has benefits for our heart. Don’t believe us? Then keep on reading.
According to a research paper published in AHAJournals, in 2016 the estimated deaths related to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) was 54.5 million. Not great, right? With a pandemic going, it has become even more important to take care of our heart!
Thankfully, a new study published in the American Journal of Cardiology has shown how meditating impacts cardiovascular risks. Dr Chayakrit Krittanawong, the lead researcher (from the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) along with his colleagues studied the US national data and found that people who meditated regularly had lower rates of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary artery disease.
This isn’t the first research to highlight the heart-friendly benefits of meditation
Some previously conducted researches have also supported the recent findings
- A study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation explored the potential benefits of meditation on cardiovascular health. The researchers came to the conclusion that meditation may reduce cardiovascular risks by reducing blood pressure, aiding smoking cessation, and reducing mortality risk from CVDs.
- Cardiologist Dr Deepak Bhatt, a professor at Harvard Medical School also recommends meditation along with a healthy diet and exercise as a useful part of cardiovascular risk reduction.
But how does meditation impact our heart really?
In a Harvard paper, Dr Bhatt explains how meditation helps in reducing CVDs. “It appears to produce changes in brain activity. It can also lower your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress,” he says.
But the biggest benefit that meditation offers is that it helps control stress hormones. You see, when we’re stressed, our body releases cortisol and adrenaline norepinephrine. These hormones accelerate our heartbeat and blood pressure preparing the body for the challenges coming our way. This response of our body is also known as the “fight-or-flight” response. When you’re perpetually stressed, this pressure on the cardiovascular can lead to many health problems including kidney damage, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke to name a few.
When we’re meditating we instruct our mind and body to follow “rest-and-digest” functions, which counteracts your “fight-or-flight” responses. Thus practising meditation on a regular basis calms the mind and body, thus promoting good cardiovascular health.
So, go on and reap the benefits of meditation on your mind, body, and heart!