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There are times when I enjoy sitting down alone and indulging in a meal. There are also times when I revel in sharing a meal with friends and family. That said, a new study has come out to suggest that maybe I should do less of the former, especially if I want to protect my heart health.

Eating Alone Is Harming Your Heart

According to a new study published in Menopause, mature women who frequently eat alone may be increasing their heart health risks.

For the study, the researchers examined 590 women over age 65 and assigned them to two groups based on their eating patterns – an eating-alone group or an eating-with-others group.

Upon examination, the findings revealed that women who ate by themselves were 2.58 times more likely to have angina, which is a common symptom of coronary artery disease.

Dangers of eating alone

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

According to the researchers, women who eat alone tend to pay less attention to nutrition labels. What’s more, they also ate less calories, fiber, sodium, potassium, and carbohydrates. It should also be mentioned that these women were more likely to be widowed, and it appears that loneliness may be contributing to their poor eating habits.

Lonely meals

The researchers found an association between a lower calorie intake among women who ate alone and a higher risk of loneliness. Therefore, if we want to address the issues that the study raised, it would be advisable to address loneliness and isolation.

Tackling loneliness

Humans are social animals. As shown by the pandemic, mature men and women rely on these social connections as the years go by. That said, it’s advisable to ensure that older people have active social lives. Whether it’s enrolling them into a group gardening class or having them take walks with a friend, research has found that regular social activities can effectively reduce loneliness and social isolation in older people (1).

In addition to improving their social life, mature women can also adopt certain strategies if they want to improve their heart health. These include quitting smoking, reducing their alcohol consumption, getting regular exercise, going for their check-ups as well as eating a healthy and balanced diet and adopting stress-relief strategies.

Want to know more?

You are what you eat, so wouldn’t you want to eat something that’ll make you feel good? How can we eat foods that will improve our mental health?

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References

Choi, H. G., Kim, H. J., & Kang, S. J. (2021). Association between eating alone and cardiovascular diseases in elderly women: a cross-sectional study of KNHANES 2016 data. Menopause (New York, N.Y.), 10.1097/GME.0000000000001887. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1097/GME.0000000000001887

Fakoya, O.A., McCorry, N.K. & Donnelly, M. (2020). Loneliness and social isolation interventions for older adults: a scoping review of reviews. BMC Public Health 20, 129. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-8251-6

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a beauty and wellness writer who has a passion for poetry, equality, natural hair, and skin-care. With a journalism degree from Pearson's Institute of Higher Education, and identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to continuously provide the latest information, be it beauty or wellness, on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle on a day-to-day basis.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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