New research published in the journal JAMA Network has shown that participation in a mindfulness-based blood pressure reduction program causes participants to improve self-awareness and raises their adherence to a heart-healthy diet.
The randomized clinical trial included over 200 participants who had high blood pressure at the start of the study. Participants were divided into two groups: one group participated in a mindfulness-based blood pressure reduction program, while the other group continued with their usual care. The program lasted eight weeks, and both groups completed questionnaires that measured their self-awareness and their adherence to the DASH diet. The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, is a heart-healthy diet that focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. The goal of the study was to see whether a mindfulness-based approach could improve self-awareness regarding health and adherence to recommended eating patterns.
The results showed that after six months of follow-up, participants in the mindfulness-based program significantly improved both their self-awareness and their adherence to the DASH diet compared to the control group.
The authors of the study stated that mindfulness can help us make healthier eating choices by making us more aware of how certain foods make us feel. Mindfulness can also give us a better perspective on how our body feels generally as well as how our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations can affect our eating habits.
Blood pressure can generally be controlled through a combination of eating a healthy diet, participating in physical activity, taking appropriate medications, avoiding alcohol, and monitoring our reactions to stress. By enhancing our self-awareness through mindfulness, we may be more likely to participate in behaviors that improve our blood pressure and be more aware of how these behaviors improve our overall health and wellbeing.