Heart disease used to be considered a men’s ailment. With women balancing more pressures at work and at home, cardiovascular disease now affects more women than men, and is responsible for 40 percent of all deaths in American women.

Clearly, preventing and lowering heart disease is something every woman needs to think about, for her own health and her family’s. A recent research study showing that the Mediterranean diet lowers heart disease is a huge breakthrough in natural solutions to heart disease. The five-year study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that people age 55 to 80 who ate a Mediterranean diet—including vegetables, fruits, nuts and olive oil—had 30 percent fewer heart attacks and stroke than control groups that ate a tlow-fat diet or a typical red-meat and junk food American diet.

It was the first time a specific diet was proven to have positive effects on lowering heart disease, which is interesting considering how many diets and health foods—often contradictory—are constantly being pushed on us by the media and the medical profession itself. As Dr. J. Sanford Schwartz, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania said recently in the New York Times, “Diets are an extreme case of accepting evidence we want to believe.”  That includes doctors, he added, who overlook that the evidence for the low-fat diets they often recommend is the sort “we would never accept in the practice of medicine.”

Now doctors all over the country are calling for more clinical trials since nutritional advice has been chaotic, contradictory and confusing for themselves and their patients. “As we go on, we realize we know less and less,” Dr. Michael Lauer, the director of the division of cardiovascular sciences at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, said in the article. “We can despair and just make things up, or we can celebrate and say we have a real opportunity to grow here.”

As consumers, we don’t have to wait until then. There is another natural and easy way to lower heart disease that has been widely researched in dozens of studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH): the Transcendental Meditation technique. In fact, a new study on the TM technique—sponsored by the NIH and published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes—showed that African-Americans with heart disease who regularly practiced TM reduced their risk of death, heart attack, and stroke by 48%. That’s amazing news—a natural, scientifically proven technique that lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke by nearly 50 percent!

Dr. Cesar Molina, Medical Director of the South Asian Heart Center at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, CA., recommends the TM technique to his heart patients. “Actually, I recommend the Transcendental Meditation technique to anyone, because you don’t have to be sick to meditate,” he says.

He goes on to say, “The Transcendental Meditation technique is a very simple mental technique, and when practiced regularly, it is associated with a decrease in blood pressure and improved neuro-physiological integration and endocrine integration; therefore, it is a process in which you can decrease high blood pressure, decrease atherosclerosis, and at the same time become more awake, alert, bright and happy.”

Linda Egenes is a health writer, blogger and author of six books, including Super Healthy Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Maharishi Ayurveda, co-authored with Kumuda Reddy, M.D.