Welcome to our annual special heart-health issue. Inside these pages we offer many doable, essential heart-health strategies, but let's face it: Making lifestyle changes or adopting new eating habits isn't always easy. OK, sipping a glass of cabernet sauvignon and nibbling dark chocolate after a long day aren't such hard routines to swallow. But some behavioral modifications are more challenging. Take the link between meditation and heart health. When the editors sat down together to decide stories for this edition, I pushed to cover new research that named Transcendental Meditation as one of the best techniques to reduce the body's responses to stress—which is responsible for a fifth of all heart attacks in the world. I thought this finding was gratifying because it finally confirmed that alternative approaches like meditation can promote physical and mental health (see "Live It Up").
Problem is, I'm a hypocrite. I don't even meditate. I go to yoga class two to three times a week, but I view my rigorous practice as more workout than prelude to meditation. And I have no great excuse for not meeting the 40-minute-a-day meditation quota that most benefits the heart. In fact, my office is just a couple hundred feet from the Boulder Shambhala Meditation Center, where they offer daily meditation lessons precisely at the time I walk out of work for the night. Yet, I'd never made the short trek to the center. Until today. And, as expected, it felt pretty darn good.
If you're like me and have had trouble making all the positive changes you know would do your heart good, don't get down on yourself. You can start today, with one tiny step. Maybe eat a serving of fruit instead of ice cream for dessert tonight. Or sign up for an acupuncture session to lower high blood pressure. Whatever you choose to do, chances are it will take work. But your heart will thank you for trying, and I will be cheering you on—think of me as your biggest fan. And let me know how it goes.
Pamela Emanoil Bond
editor in chief