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Cardiovascular Health Channel
Reported December 10, 2012

Healthy Eating Prevents Heart Attacks

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – A five-year study of approximately 32,000 patients in 40 countries has discovered that eating a heart-healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fish reduces the chance of a second heart attack and stroke in people with cardiovascular disease. 

Every year close to 20 million people throughout the world survive a stroke or heart attack.  This recent study is the first to show that a better diet can reduce their risk of another episode like aspirin can.

Participants were asked how often they consumed vegetables, fruits, milk, grains, fish, meat, nuts, and poultry over the past 12 months.  They were asked if they consumed alcohol, smoked, and exercised.  Researchers discovered a heart-healthy diet offered a “consistent benefit” over taking medications to reduce their risk. 

"At times, patients don't think they need to follow a healthy diet since their medications have already lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol – that is wrong.  Dietary modification has benefits in addition to those seen with Aspirin, angiotensin modulators, lipid-lowering agents and beta blockers,” Mahshid Dehghan, the study's lead author and nutritionist at McMaster University's Population Health Research Institute (PHRI), was quoted as saying.

Based on their food habit, healthy eating was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease by more than 20 percent in all regions.  Researchers believe this is the first study to report on the impact of healthy eating for patients who are taking medications to prevent a second heart attack, stroke, or even death.

"Physicians should advise their high-risk patients to improve their diet and eat more vegetables, fruits, grains and fish.  This could substantially reduce cardiovascular recurrence beyond drug therapy alone and save lives globally,” Dehghan concluded. 

SOURCE:  American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal, December 2012

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