Sharing a meal with someone is an especially pleasant experience. However, current research suggests that it may also have some health advantages. In contrast, eating alone regularly might be harmful to one's health, particularly for mature women. A study published in the journal Menopause revealed that eating by yourself may raise your chance of developing heart disease.
Based on how frequently they ate alone or with others, researchers looked at 590 women over 65 and divided them into two groups: those who regularly ate alone and those who regularly ate with others. They discovered that participants tended to be less aware of nutrition labels and consumed fewer calories, fiber, sodium, potassium, and carbohydrates. They also discovered that women who ate alone were 2.58 times more likely to experience angina, a coronary artery disease symptom that involves reduced blood flow to the heart. The women also had a higher likelihood of being widowed and a lower average income, according to the study's findings. Researchers hypothesized that strengthening elderly women's social connections could help them eat better and maintain good health overall.
According to Robert Greenfield, MD, FACC, FAHA,, FNLA, co-founder of California Heart Associates, depression and heart health are frequently linked, so it is beneficial to address both simultaneously. This is possible through a number of strategies that have been shown to increase heart health while lowering depression risk. These tactics consist of:
Getting some sort of social engagement, ideally daily but at least a few times per week, is one of the most effective strategies, according to Dr. Greenfield.
"We are built to connect with other people, and sometimes that requires effort," he adds. "It's nice when it's over a meal, but there are many other ways to get the benefits of that social time."
A higher likelihood of loneliness, which can result in depressive symptoms, and lower caloric intake among the women who ate alone appear to be the two key variables in the recent study. Trying to change to eating most meals with a companion or in a community is probably impractical for someone who regularly eats alone.However, the explanations for the health hazards in the current study provide hints about what techniques may be useful. Working to lessen isolation and loneliness can be especially effective.
According to Robert Greenfield, MD, FACC, FAHA,, FNLA, co-founder of California Heart Associates, depression and heart health are frequently linked, so it is beneficial to address both simultaneously. This is possible through a number of strategies that have been shown to increase heart health while lowering depression risk.
Calorie requirements alter as we get older, especially if our exercise levels decrease and lower our basal metabolic rate. You can have less muscle mass as a result, which means you need less calories to maintain your weight. However, it is also possible to go too far with calorie restriction. This can happen due to a weakened sense of taste as well as isolation-related sensations. Paul Takahashi, MD, a member of the Mayo Clinic's geriatric consultation group, claims that some loss of smell and taste occurs naturally as people age, especially after the age of 60. However, he continues, additional circumstances, such as the following, may make this worse:
"Loss of taste can have a significant impact on quality of life and lead to decreased appetite and poor nutrition," Dr. Takahashi notes.
If you're older and this is a problem, he advises speaking with a healthcare professional. If your taste is being affected, it might be able to change your prescription or take care of sinus or tooth issues.
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