As Heart Health month winds to a close, we thought we’d look back at some of the recent studies that really caught our attention when it comes to preventing heart disease:
Don’t Skip Breakfast
A recent Harvard study indicates a connection between regularly skipping breakfast and a higher risk of having a heart attack or heart disease. Why? Apparently ditching that morning meal can lead to risk factors like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – all of which can lead to a coronary incident. The study also indicated that the timing of meals could be harmful to our heart, indicating that those study participants who ate right before bedtime had a 55% higher risk of heart trouble.
DO Skip Processed Meats
We’ve all read about the health hazards of eating too much meat; but a study out of the University of Zurich actually isolates processed meat and its role in heart disease (meaning fresh meat that has been altered through the use of salt or other additives). Specifically, researchers estimated that 3.3 %of deaths in their study could have been prevented if all participants had reduced their processed meat consumption to less than 20 grams a day. That’s the equivalent of about a match-stick sized piece of sausage – something to be aware of when we’re standing at the deli counter!
And Don’t Forget to Smile
Maintaining a healthy heart diet can be a challenge; but what if simply adopting a more positive attitude could help us avoid a heart attack? An NIH-sponsored study followed over 1,200 people perceived to be at higher risk of heart attack or stroke whose siblings had suffered a coronary event. After an average of 12 years’ data collection, during which subjects logged anxiety levels, moods, levels of health concern, well-being, and life satisfaction, researchers saw what appeared to be a one-third reduction in actual cardiac events among those who expressed a more positive outlook. This reduction factor grew to almost 50 percent among those positive thinkers at the highest risk for heart attack or stroke. So yes, we must all eat better and live wiser … but at the end of the day, the path to a strong heart may just start with a smile.