Diet, exercise, and medication aren’t the only ways to manage Type 2 diabetes. Meditation, yoga, and other forms of “mindfulness” training have been found to lower blood sugar.
In a new study of 399 people, researchers found that those with higher scores for “everyday mindfulness” were significantly more likely than people with low scores to have healthy blood glucose levels.
The findings were the result of a Brown University research project designed to study whether non-drug interventions that increase mindfulness can improve cardiovascular health.
Their notion behind the project is that people who practice higher degrees of mindfulness may be better able to motivate themselves to exercise, resist cravings for high-fat, high-sugar treats, and stick with diet and exercise regimens recommended by their doctors.
"This study demonstrated a significant association of dispositional mindfulness with glucose regulation, and provided novel evidence that obesity and sense of control may serve as potential mediators of this association," said lead researcher Eric Loucks, assistant professor of epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health. "As mindfulness is likely a modifiable trait, this study provides preliminary evidence for a fairly novel and modifiable potential determinant of diabetes risk."
The study, published in the American Journal of Health Behavior, did not show a direct link between mindfulness and Type 2 diabetes risk. But participants with high levels of mindfulness were about 20 percent less likely to have Type 2 diabetes, Loucks said.
"There's been almost no epidemiological observational study investigations on the relationship of mindfulness with diabetes or any cardiovascular risk factor," Loucks added.
"This is one of the first. We're getting a signal. I'd love to see it replicated in larger sample sizes and prospective studies as well."
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