Cut Your Heart Failure Risk with a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle
The Journal of the American Medical Association has published two studies that verify what experts often claim—that the risk of heart failure is cut dramatically through a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Harvard Medical School, Boston carried out both studies. One study (led by Dr. Luc Djousse) examined data from 20,900 men, and the other (led by Dr. John P. Forman) analysed of data from 83,882 women.
The men’s study identified a number of key positive factors:
“Maintaining a normal body weight, not smoking, regular exercise, moderate alcohol intake, consumption of breakfast cereals, and consumption of fruits and vegetables.”
10.1% risk of heart failure was found in men who managed four or more of these while men who had none of these factors had double the risk at 21.2%.
Though with a different focus on supplementation, and taking into account the use of pain medication, the women’s study looked at similar factors:
“Normal body weight, vigorous exercise for an average of 30 minutes per day, consuming a healthy diet, modest alcohol intake, use of pain medications less than once per week, and use of supplemental folic acid, a form of vitamin B.”
It may seem like a lot to stick to if you put the two together. For women, however, it is important to note this finding wherein normal body weight is found to be one factor that provides the most reduction in heart-disease and high blood pressure risk:
“The factor with the single greatest impact on high blood pressure was body weight. Women who were obese were 4.7-times more likely to develop high blood pressure than were women of normal body weight.”
Cut your risk of heart failure, especially if you have a medical history of high blood pressure by establishing and maintaining a healthy body weight.
Decrease Your Chances of Having a Heart Attack with Less Salt
Reducing the daily salt intake could help decline the risk of having heart attack and other heart related problems.
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, cutting the daily salt intake by 3 grams or about 1,200 milligrams of sodium could reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Excessive salt intake is associated with high blood pressure or hypertension that damages the arteries. Damaged arteries could lead to heart disease, stroke and other heart problems.
The U.S Department of Health and Human Services recommends that an adult should limit their daily salt intake to 5.8 grams or about 2,300 milligrams of sodium. But studies have shown that an American man and woman eat about 4,178 and 2.933 milligrams of sodium per day respectively. The processed foods that Americans eat contain salt that accounts for 75-80% of their salt consumption. Therefore it is strongly suggested that food manufacturers cut down on the amount of salt they add to processed foods.
Decreasing salt intake is not the only way to reduce the risk of heart diseases. Proper diet consisting mostly of vegetables and fruits, as well as exercise, reduction in smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages will further decrease the risk of heart diseases.