It would hardly be worth studying nutrition if the data suggested it was not a powerful path to prevent heart disease and other conditions. Fortunately, it is quite the opposite. Most cases of heart disease, particularly CAD, are preventable and nutrition is a huge part of that. It is so sad that people are dying or are maimed by weak hearts that never needed to suffer if they only had learned and practiced heart smart nutrition backed by science.
Although there are many ways to prevent heart disease, the most important steps boil down to just six habits. Recently completed studies demonstrate how easy it is to be protected against heart attacks. Let’s take a look at 3 of these studies.
- The MORGEN Study
Researchers in the Netherlands studied almost 18,000 men and women without heart disease. They followed them for up to 14 years, and more than 600 of the group had heart attacks including deaths. They found that if people followed four steps they were able to lower their risk of heart attacks by 67%:
- Average 30 minutes a day of physical activity
- Eat a healthy diet in the Mediterranean style rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- No smoking
- Enjoy more than one alcoholic beverage a month
If people a fifth healthy habit — sleeping seven or more hours at night on average — they lowered their risk of heart attacks by an amazing 83% during the 14 years compared to those not following these steps. Eating and living healthy can provide amazing protection against the number 1 killer in the Western world.
- The Karolinska Study
Scientists in Sweden examined more than 20,000 men free of heart disease and followed them for 11 years. They found that there were certain habits that lowered the risk of heart attacks, including:
- A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains and reduced fat
- No smoking
- Moderate alcohol consumption daily
- Thin waistlines
- More than 40 minutes of daily physical activity
Men who followed all five of these lifestyle habits had an 86% lower chance of developing or dying of heart attacks than those who followed none. Sadly, only 1% of the Swedes studied followed all five habits! Again, lifestyle rules and a plant-strong diet is the foundation of heart disease prevention.
- The Caerphilly Study
In England, 2,235 men were followed for an amazing 30 years. Five behaviors were tracked for the development of disease:
- No smoking
- Normal BMI (18-25)
- More than three servings daily of fruits and vegetables
- Walking more than two miles a day
- Controlled daily alcohol intake
Men in this study who followed four or five of these habits delayed the development of vascular disease by 12 years, although only 0.1% actually practiced all five! Furthermore, dementia was nearly 70% lower in those following these habits.
The message is very clear. While it is worthwhile to switch out your plastic water bottles for glass, buy non-GMO products and use phthalate-free toothpaste, it is more important to first conquer the six habits that can make heart attacks nearly extinct. The number one killer of men and women can be tamed with your fork, your feet, your fingers far from cigarettes, and some responsible use of a small glass of wine.
So it’s as easy as simply sticking to these six simple habits:
- Plant-based diet
- Regular physical activity
- No smoking
- Occasional alcohol consumption (if it’s not an issue)
- Adequate sleep
- Weight and waist control
Please help spread the word that lifestyle medicine prevents tragic and needless deaths. Together, we can make heart attacks a rarity. Parents can have more years with their families. Spouses don’t need to mourn a deceased partner. Start today, because it’s too important not to.