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5 Simple Guidelines Help Prevent Most Heart Attacks In Women!

Heart disease is one of the most important causes of death and disability in women. If someone tell you that heart attacks in women are preventable, do you believe? I bet some of you may but many of you may be sceptical about this statement. Yes, it is possible for women to prevent heart attacks provided they do follow some simple guidelines: eat right, drink a moderate amount of alcohol, stay physical active, maintain a healthy weight and do not smoke.

A new study conducted by Karolinska Institute, Stockholm and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, shows that about 77 percent of heart attacks in women can be avoided if they adopt the five simple healthy diet and lifestyle factors. In a clinical trial in 1997, the researchers studied the dietary and lifestyle patterns of 24,444 postmenopausal women, who had no heart disease, diabetes or cancer at the time.

Using the ‘food frequency’ questionnaires that recorded how often these women ate 96 different foods, the researchers analysed the information collected and identified 4 major dietary patterns. These were:

  • Healthy (vegetables, fruits and legumes)

  • Western/Swedish (red meat, processed meat, poultry, rice, pasta, eggs, fried potatoes and fish)

  • Alcohol (wine, liquor, beer and some snacks)

  • Sweets (sweet baked goods, candy, chocolate, jam and ice cream)

Meantime, they also collected other information including family history of heart disease, educational level, physical activity and body measurements.

They then followed up with these women for the next 6 years and found that 308 of them had heart attacks. They noted that 2 types of dietary patterns, ‘healthy’ and ‘alcohol’ were significantly associated with decreased risk of heart attack.

Comparing with those women who had a less healthy diet and lifestyle pattern, women who had a ‘healthy’ diet ate lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish and legumes, and at the same time drank a moderate amount of alcohol (5 g per day or less) had a 57-percent lower risk of having a first heart attack.

Furthermore, those women who combined the healthy diet and moderate drinking with 3 healthy lifestyle factors, that is, do not smoke, physically active and avoid substantial weight gain, had a 92-per cent lower risk of heart attack.

The study clearly indicates the combined effort of diet, lifestyle and healthy body weight may actually prevent more than 3 of 4 cases of heart attack in the studied population. It is hoped that the data provided by the study can show the public how much people can decrease their risk of heart attack by the different lifestyle factors that are not very difficult to follow. What people need is just their own motivation and they can see how much they can gain by the combined healthy diet and lifestyle.



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