Meditation is often associated with mental health, and less so with heart health, but according to Junger “[it] is such a complete practice—especially for heart health.”
Several studies have looked at the effects of meditation on blood pressure, finding evidence that mindfulness-based stress reduction may lead to significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Along with supporting healthy blood pressure levels, Junger says “it calms down the spikes of cortisol and hormones that respond to stress.” And since psychological stress has been linked to cardiovascular disease, practicing meditation frequently may lower the risk of developing heart disease.
Though the evidence isn’t strong enough to make meditation a treatment on its own, the American Heart Association has suggested using it alongside other heart-healthy practices to lower cardiovascular risk. “There is no combination of therapies that achieve all these results with zero bad side effects, and no monetary cost,” Junger says. So, if you haven’t made it part of your daily routine, might as well start now.