Here’s an unusual health tip for improving the health of your heart: practice spirituality. This health advice comes courtesy of researchers at the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, in Ontario.
The research team noted that previous studies have suggested that attending religious services could provide small yet important protective benefits against coronary heart disease (CHD) and CHD risk factors (e.g., diabetes, hypertension). However, they stated that the extent to which these benefits apply to Canada deserves study, because approximately one-third of adult Canadians attend religious services at least monthly.
In light of that statistic, they devised a clinical trial to examine the association between frequency of religious service attendance and prevalence of CHD, diabetes, and hypertension in Canada. The researchers used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey. After controlling for demographic, socioeconomic and health behavior variables, the association between religious service attendance and prevalence of CHD was not deemed significant. However, persons who attended religious services more than once a week exhibited lower prevalence odds of diabetes and hypertension compared to persons who attended less than once a year.
The findings of this study represent the first bit of health news that suggests religious service attendance may be associated with a lower prevalence of CHD risk factors.
If you’ve been thinking about connecting with your spiritual side, this study provides some excellent motivation. Along with being heart healthy, attending weekly services could prompt you to engage in more social connections with family and friends. Even without strong religious beliefs, a church can create a meditative place to contemplate your life. You may also find yourself more connected to your community, perhaps engaging in some volunteer activities.
Now, for another unconventional way to improve heart health, read the article How Do You Take Your Heart Disease Prevention?