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heart disease

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Healthy Habits Can Offset Genetic Risk

Heart-healthy lifestyles benefit overall heart-health!

Worried you will have cardiovascular disease because it is in your genes? Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found while a high genetic tendency indeed increases risk of heart disease, so does an unhealthy lifestyle. The good news is, with a healthy lifestyle, the risk of heart disease can be lowered--especially for those with a high genetic risk. Those with the most healthy lifestyle factors reduced their risk by almost 50%, regardless of their genetic risk.

PositiveTip: A healthy lifestyle benefits everyone, even those with high risk in their genes!

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Are Eggs Healthy?

Eggs have long been vilified for their high cholesterol by many experts.

Although one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol (200 mg per egg yolk), eggs also contain nutrients that may help lower the risk of heart disease such as monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats, biotin, choline, vitamin A, protein, and lutein (an antioxidant). This does not give permission to eating a daily 3-egg omelet! Watch out for the trimmings, too! Watch this video from the Harvard School of Public Health.

PositiveTip: Eggs may not be the optimal food choice, but they are certainly not the worst--when consumed moderately, no more than one per day.

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Health-related Anxiety Increases Risk of Heart Disease

Disease is sometimes produced or aggravated by the imagination!

Researchers in Norway studied 7000 adults and found about 10% had health-related anxieties. Those anxious individuals were 70% more likely to develop heart disease in the next 12 years, even after adjusting for cardiovascular and other confounders, compared to those without health anxiety. Ellen G. White, an early health reformer wrote, "Many die from disease the cause of which is wholly imaginary." (Ministry of Healing).

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Important Touchy-Feely Stuff

Positive relationships are essential for positive health!

Rabbits were placed on a high-cholesterol diet thinking they would all get heart disease. They were stacked in cages to the ceiling. Those in the higher cages got significantly more heart disease compared to the lower ones. It was found the technician caring for them was short and only played with the lower ones. The study was repeated. This time the group that was touched, petted and loved experienced 60% less heart disease than the ones ignored.

PositiveTip: Connection and community with others is essential to reducing disease risk.

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Rotating Night Shifts Seems to be Hard for the Heart

Night shift rotations for 5 or more years may be a risk factor for CHD.

A long-term study covering 24 years of follow-up using data from the Nurses' Health Studies with almost 190,000 participants reveals those who had a history of working 3 or more night shifts per month for at least 5 years had significantly higher rates of coronary heart disease (CHD) than those who never worked night shift. Nurses who worked night shift for 10 or more years had even higher risk. 

PositiveTip: While not always possible, avoiding night shift may be an important health choice.

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Is Butter Back?

New research fails to exonerate saturated fat as a risk for heart disease.

In an almost 30 year study, researchers found when people replace saturated fat (mainly found in meats and dairy products) with refined carbohydrates they do not lower their risk of heart disease. Those who replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats or whole grains (unrefined carbohydrate) did lower their risk of heart disease. 

PositiveTip: Limiting saturated fat in the diet is still best for heart health and so are unrefined carbohydrates!

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Healthy Diet Helps Low-income Population

A good diet in the underserved population helps prevent illness.

Low-income U.S. adults who eat a healthy diet experienced about 20% lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Almost 78,000 adults, half who had an annual income less than $15,000, were followed from 2002 to 2009. The quality of their diets was evaluated using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Healthy Eating Index. After adjusting for confounders, the advantages remained.

PositiveTip: Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and some nuts. Reduce or eliminate red and processed meats and sugar-sweetened foods. 

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Heart Hope for Obese Children

A plant-based diet may reduce heart disease risk for obese children

Researchers compared a plant-based diet and the American Heart Association (AHA) diet for heart-health effects on 28 obese children. After only four weeks, both diets showed significant improvements but those on a plant-based diet had additional improvements in BMI, blood pressure, insulin, total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. A plant-based diet included plant foods, whole grains, limited avocado and nuts, no-added-fat. The AHA diet included refined grains, low-fat dairy, selected plant oils, and lean meat and fish in moderation. 

PositiveTip: Overweight or not, choose a plant-based diet for you and your children. 

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How to Keep Your Heart Efficient

An hour of moderate exercise significantly drops your risk of heart failure.

Swedish researchers studying 40,000 people found regular exercise can reduce your risk of heart failure by up to 46%. Heart failure refers to inefficient heart pumping not a failure to pump. Risk of death is 30-50% within 5 years of diagnosis. Researchers found that a daily dose of either 1 hour of moderate exercise (brisk walking) or 30 minutes of high intensity exercise (running/biking) had equal benefits.

PositiveTip: Get your leg muscles moving daily to keep your heart muscles efficient.

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Alcohol Not So Heart Healthy

The less you drink, the healthier your heart, according to large investigative study.

It's been reported that light to moderate alcohol drinking may improve heart health. A massive multi-center study involving 155 researchers and 260,000 people may overturn that thinking. People who drank 17% less enjoyed an average 10% less risk of coronary heart disease and had lower blood pressure and BMI. Light drinkers who reduced their drinking had the best heart health.

PositiveTip: Instead of drinking alcohol, increase your exercise and plant foods intake to enjoy proven heart health benefits.

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