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2010-2011 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Correlation between practicing yoga and following a balanced diet.
Research shows that independently balanced nutrition and yoga both help the body function optimally by reducing stress levels thus improving quality of life. The relationship between a balanced diet and a yoga practice was analyzed in 100 persons in Lexington, KY. Participants included ten traditional college students (average age 21+/- years) and ninety yoga students whom are working professionals (age range 26-84 years; average age 54.5+/- years) and have been practicing yoga for longer than one year. The participants completed surveys regarding their dietary habits, stress level, and frequency of yoga practice. Seven of the 100 polled do not practice yoga, yet 57% (n=4) of those feel a mind body workout like yoga does decrease stress level. Ninety six percent of those that take yoga classes do so primarily for relieving stress. It was found that all participants regularly consumed whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Eighty nine percent of the participants also consume animal foods and treats. Ninety two percent of the participants also consume alcoholic beverages with an average frequency of 1.89 (1=daily and 2=weekly). Participants prefer their yoga practice in a classroom setting with only 12 % reporting a home practice. The average frequency of taking a yoga class was 3.576 (3=weekly and 4=2-3 times per week). This study found persons who practice yoga report a low to moderate stress level and that eating a balanced diet does improve their physical and mental health. It is not known if the mind body workout influenced the balanced dietary habits or the balanced diet drew the participants to engaging in yoga.