(NaturalHealth365) Social interaction has long been a big part of mealtime – likely since the dawn of humankind. However, in our fast-paced world, many adults often find themselves eating alone.
Unfortunately, a recent study suggests that eating alone may actually be bad for your heart. But why is this the case, and how can you protect your heart health if you frequently eat alone?
Eating solo may increase THIS painful heart condition, study warns
The study, published in early 2022 in the journal Menopause, sought to find out how an eating companion (or lack of one) affected heart health, specifically in women over age 65. The study evaluated the health and eating habits of 590 women.
The researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted in Korea in 2016. These study participants were split into two categories: those who ate two or more meals alone each day and those who ate two or more meals with others.
After analyzing the data, researchers found that participants who mostly ate alone had a whopping 2.58 times higher risk of angina than those who had mealtime companions.
Angina is a painful heart condition that occurs when the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen. This is often due to underlying coronary artery disease, which can cause the cardiac arteries to become narrowed and blocked from plaque buildup. This results in reduced blood flow to the heart. Depending on the type of angina, it could mean the person may be at risk of a heart attack.
Why is eating alone bad for your health?
Besides increasing angina risk in women over 65, many studies have found that eating alone increases several health risks, including obesity, high blood pressure, and depression.
These findings are startling. But why is it that eating alone is so bad for your health? Researchers from the Menopause study concluded that the women who ate alone had less nutritional knowledge and poorer intake than their counterparts who ate with a companion.
Furthermore, eating solo can negatively impact mental health. Besides, it’s easy to make less-than-healthy food choices when you’re busy, sad, or stressed. Those who primarily eat alone may tend to overeat or consume junk foods, which can increase their health risks.
How to protect your health
Undoubtedly, our food choices have an effect on our heart health and overall well-being – even whether or not we eat alone. Yet, while not all of us are able to eat meals with other people, there are steps you can take to protect your heart and your health.
For one, it’s important to eat a nutrient-rich diet, including lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. These powerful plant foods provide vital nutrition, and some even have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Healthy fats from organic nuts, avocados, and olive oil are also beneficial. Walnuts may even support healthy cholesterol levels. It’s also good to avoid highly processed foods, such as deli meats, soft drinks, and fast food. Bottom line: eating healthy (fresh, unprocessed) foods – as often as possible – and enjoying mealtimes with someone you love are two great heart healthy habits.
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