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Breastfeeding Associated with Lower CVD Risk

Breastfeeding for 2 or more years lowered the risk of CHD by 18%.

A study of 300,000 women in China found mothers who breast fed their babies had significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease when compared to those who did not. Those who breastfed 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months, or over 24 months, respectively, had 1%, 7%, 11%, 13%, and 18% lower risk of CHD. Each additional six months of breastfeeding reduced the risk by 4%.

PositiveTip: Encourage new mothers to breastfeed their babies. It is best for the baby and good for the mother!

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Saturated Fats Again Linked to CHD

It is still better to replace SFAs with healthier choices.

Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD from Harvard University published his third paper this year linking saturated fats (SFA) to increased coronary heart disease (CHD) risk. In analyzing 24-28 years of follow-up data in two large prospective studies a strong correlation with all the major saturated fatty acids and CHD was found. The authors calculated that by replacing 1% of daily energy from SFA with polyunsaturated fats from whole grains and plant proteins would lead to a 6-8% reduction in CHD risk. 

PositiveTip: Evidence remains strong for choosing a plant-based diet!

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Whole Grains: Good for the Heart

Consuming whole-grains has a protective effect against CHD.

A meta-analysis involving almost 500,000 people found those who consumed the highest amounts of whole-grain experienced over 20% less coronary heart disease (CHD) when compared to those who consumed the lowest amount of whole-grain intake. 

PositiveTip: Choose your grains wisely as they do have a significant benefit on your heart health.

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Spousal Mixed Feelings and CHD Risk

How you view and are viewed by your spouse may influence your risk of CHD.

How do you perceive your spouse? Helpful or upsetting, or both (ambivalence)? A small, preliminary study of couples who had been married an average of 36 years found coronary calcification scores were highest in those who viewed and in turn were viewed by their spouses as "helpful and upsetting". This held true after control for confounders.

PositiveTip: "Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves" Philippians 2:3.

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Cardiovascular Risk Reduced by Dietary Fiber

Each 7-gram increase in dietary fiber significantly lowers risk for heart disease.

High dietary fiber intakes have been associated with lower risks for coronary heart disease (CHD). A meta-analysis of 22 observational cohort studies found that every increase of 7-grams in total dietary fiber (amount in 1 cup bran flakes, 2 fresh apples, or 1 cup of raw peas) reduced the risk of CHD and cardiovascular disease events by 10%. Findings were also similar for soluble, insoluble, vegetable, cereal, and fruit fibers. 

PositiveTip: Consuming fiber rich foods may indeed keep the doctor away!

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Clogged Arteries in Young Men

Heart disease in the young is often clinically silent.

Researchers have examined data from 3832 United States service members who were killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The average age was 26 years old. These were young, healthy, and fit for deployment--without any symptoms. However, just over one in 12 had atherosclerotic plaque buildup, an early sign of heart disease. Those who had been obese or had high cholesterol or high blood pressure when they entered the military were more likely to have these signs of early disease.

PositiveTip: Choose a healthy lifestyle early in life to help control heart disease.

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Good Diets Benefit Heart Patients

Significant benefits accure to heart patients who begin eating better.

According to a Canadian study, healthy eating can benefit those who already have heart disease regardless of the medications they are taking. After 56 months of follow-up, patients consuming the healthiest diet experienced an almost 25% reduction in further cardiovascular events compared to those who ate the poorest quality diets (P < 0.001). These results show that high-quality diets are associated with consistent benefits.

PositiveTip: It is rarely too late to make healthy dietary changes!

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Stress at Work May Increase CHD

Being stressed at work increases risk of CHD.

A recent review of European studies has found that workers who report feeling job stress have an almost 25% increase in the risk of coronary heart disease compared to those reporting no stress in the workplace. These findings hold true even after adjusting for lifestyle and demographic factors. This study only measured job strain at baseline, suggesting that several repeated assessments over time could be a stronger predictor of CHD.

PositiveTip: Job stress is real, but "whistling while you work" could reduce your perception of stress and reduce your risk of CHD.

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Vegetable Oils Lower CHD Risk

Vegetable-oil fats linked to lower CHD.

Research has suggested the negative consequences of a high ratio of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats to the omega-3s found in fish oil. However, a European study has found that higher levels of omega-6s found in liquid vegetable oils such as soybean, canola and sunflower, along with nuts, seeds, and grains reduced the risk of coronary heart disease.

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Exporting Health Risks via Fast Foods

Fast food increases the risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease in Singapore.

Chinese Singaporeans who consume Western-style fast foods at least 2 times per week are at 27% greater risk for diabetes and 56% greater risk  for coronary heart disease compared to those who rarely or never eat these foods. The researchers behind this study examined data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, which involves almost 65,000 people.

PositiveTip: Beware of fast foods--no matter where you live.