Woman eating alone is at risk for angina

Never Eat Alone: It’s a Heart Health Breaker

Never Eat Alone: It’s a Heart Health Breaker

Scientifically reviewed by: Michael A. Smith, MD

Not having a sweetheart to share a meal with can be a real heart breaker—literally. A new study published in Menopause which examined both the health status and dinner habits of nearly 600 women over the age of 65 found that those who didn't have a standing meal companion were 2.58 times more likely to suffer from a painful heart condition called angina.

"Eating alone" refers to study participants who ate more than two meals a day alone.

This is not the first research to associate health risks with dining solo. Previous studies have suggested that those who frequently eat without company are also more likely to have depression, be obese, and have high blood pressure.

Why eating alone is unhealthy?

Researchers concluded that the solo eaters tended to have less knowledge about nutrition labels and a less optimal intake of calories, carbohydrates, fiber, sodium, and potassium, compared to the study participants who usually ate meals with a companion.

We live in a fast-paced society, so we don't always have free time to sit down and break bread with friends or family. It's not uncommon to find yourself eating at your desk at work in between meetings or gobbling down fast food while running errands, carpooling to extracurricular activities and work commutes.

But, unfortunately, the convenience and way in which we consume our meals may not be good for overall physical wellbeing. When you eat alone, you're more likely to gravitate towards junk food and overeat, rather than be mindful about portion control. It also can have a negative impact on our mental health.

Does eating alone cause depression?

Food is often a social experience: family dinners, lunch with coworkers, date nights and traditional holiday meals; so by missing out on eating with others you can feel the loss of community and feel more isolated. In fact, a study in Japan found that living alone coupled with eating alone increased depression in older adults.

Rather than eating alone, try to coordinate in-person mealtimes with coworkers, friends or family. You can do this even if you live far away from people you know! In today's virtual society, special occasions as well as everyday meals can be shared with a little help from Wi-Fi. Or, try a dining club with groups on MeetUp or even eat at the bar in a restaurant and strike up a conversation with those seated next to you.

Foods to avoid when you are over 60

It's not only important to eat with a companion—what you eat matters just as much to your overall health (if not even more). To avoid the risk of potential illness and poor health, those over the age of 60 should steer clear of:

  1. Deli meat:

    Now what you're about to hear isn't bologna… but cured meats like ham, salami and bologna are packed with additives that you want to avoid. However, If your sandwich isn't the same without meat, opt for home-cooked meats and thinly slice them yourself or source them from a local butcher.
  2. Fast food:

    Unfortunately, the golden arches don't belong in your golden years. Fast foods may be convenient, but many are filled with unhealthy fats, sugars and preservatives. Eating these processed foods could cause weight gain as well as other unwanted health problems.
  3. Grapefruit:

    If you are taking medications for your blood pressure, you're going to want to avoid this citrus fruit as it can intensify the effects of certain drugs and may cause harm. The jury is still out on other citrus fruits, like oranges and lemons, but they don't appear to have this strong contraindication. Be sure to discuss your diet with your doctor if you are taking medication.
  4. Raw eggs:

    You don't have to throw out the hen house, but you will need to avoid raw or undercooked eggs as well as eggnog, mayonnaise and even some ice creams. Raw eggs can increase the risk of getting food poisoning and even lead to sepsis. Instead, consume hard-boiled or scrambled eggs and recipes where eggs are fully cooked.

Self-care tips for post-menopausal women

Menopause is a natural part of the aging process that all women will go through, and life on "the other side" of this transition can be dramatically different from the childbearing years. Fortunately, there are certain lifestyle choices you can make throughout menopause so you can enter this new phase of life with comfort.

  1. Exercise:

    Breaking a sweat is one of the best ways to maintain your physical and mental health. A little exercise goes a long way when it comes to increasing bone strength as well. Pick a physical activity that you enjoy and do it daily for at least 30 to 60 minutes.
  2. Hydrate:

    Another great way to practice self-care during menopause is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drinking enough liquids may help alleviate symptoms of dryness and bloating.
  3. Sleep:

    Getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep may seem impossible while going through menopause, especially when dealing with night sweats and other symptoms. But sleep is essential for your body to recover and prepare you for the next day. Make sure to turn off electronic devices 30 minutes before bed, wear comfortable clothing and regulate the temperature in the room. Melatonin can help regulate your circadian rhythm and support a healthy sleep cycle.



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The Life Extension Health News team delivers accurate information about vitamins, nutrition and aging. Our stories rely on multiple, authoritative sources and experts. We keep our content accurate and trustworthy, by submitting it to a medical reviewer.