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How meditation could keep you slim and heart healthy

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Mindful eating and heart health

Learning meditation seems to have extra benefits when it comes to weight loss and heart health.


Eating mindlessly is easiest when we're socializing, watching television or stressed. We don't always eat because of hunger. Reaching for that bowl of chips or feeling magnetized by the buffet table can sometimes just happen, despite our best intentions.

The extra benefit of meditation to keep us away from the buffet table could lead to better heart health and lower chance of type 2 diabetes.

Why meditation?

Jennifer Daubenmier, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco suggests meditation could be a healthy addition to weight loss programs.

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Daubenmier and her colleagues conducted a five and half month study with a one year follow-up to see if people could lose more weight by learning to pay attention to their feelings, body sensations and thoughts when eating and exercising. One group was given meditation training and the control group focused on "active attention".

The two groups received the same exercise and diet recommendations.At the end of 18 months the group trained in mindfulness lost 3.7 more pounds than the active attention group, which not not considered statistically significant.

Mindfulness however did lead to improved blood sugar control and triglyceride to HDL (good) cholesterol ratios, which means lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Meditation can also give your mood a boost

The preliminary finding,published in the journal Obesity, shows mindfulness that comes from learning meditation could lead to better heart health and lower your risk of type 1 diabetes. The study authors suggest more research to explore the potential benefits of mindful eating.