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Enter the right state of mind and reduce plaque levels!
The researchers assigned 60 African American men and women with high blood pressure to either a transcendental meditation (TM) program or a control group. The TM group practiced meditation 20 minutes twice a day. After seven months researchers found that the people in this group lowered their plaque levels (measured by carotid intima-media thickness, or IMT, which reflects the level of fatty substances deposited on the artery walls), reducing their overall heart attack risk up to 11 percent and their stroke risk up to 15 percent. The other group had no reduction; in fact, their plaque levels increased.
“Cardiovascular disease is associated with psychological stress,” explained Amparo Castillo-Richmond, M.D., the study’s lead author. “Previous research has found that the TM program decreases coronary heart disease risk factors, including hypertension, oxidized lipids, stress hormones, and psychological stress.” Moreover, according to the researchers, the state of “restful alertness” brought on by meditation may trigger the body’s self-repair mechanisms.
A later study found that when it comes to reducing atherosclerosis, the overall effectiveness of a program that involved meditation and yoga along with a high-fiber, low-fat diet, aerobic exercise, and antioxidant supplements was even greater than in studies involving cholesterol-lowering drugs.
From: Cut Your Cholesterol