Clint Eastwood is 90 and has practiced transcendental meditation for about 40 years. That might explain why his often high-stress work as an actor and director hasn't taken a toll on his health. There has been research showing meditation is linked to a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. However, it hasn't been rock solid - until now.
Recently, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and elsewhere decided to conduct a closer analysis. Their study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology, involved data on more than 61,000 adults, 6,000 of whom said they regularly practice some form of meditation. After controlling for factors such as rage, age and sex, the researchers found that those who meditated were half as like to have coronary heart disease. The meditation group also had significantly lower rates of diabetes and stroke.
If you're looking begin meditating, here's a simple exercise: Place your index finger at the base of the pinky finger on your opposite hand. Breathe in for the count of four while tracing your index finger up to the tip of your pinky and breathe out to the count of four to six while you trace back down. Then move on to your ring finger. Continue until you've traced your whole hand. Then reverse direction and head back toward your pinky.
Bonus: If you also adopt the YOU diet, exercise regularly, get your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol in the normal range and avoid toxins, you can cut your cardio and dementia risk by more than 80 percent.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.