Healthful Lifestyles Reduce Risk for Heart Attacks, Prostate Cancer

Heart attack risk: For eleven years, researchers followed more than 20,000 Swedish men, 45 to 79 years old with no heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or cancer. Those who: • ate a healthful diet of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, nuts, whole grains and fish • controlled their weight (waist circumference below 95 cm or 37") • exercised regularly • avoided tobacco • avoided alcohol had an 86 percent lower risk of suffering a heart attack (Journal of the American College of Cardiology, September 22, 2014).

Only three percent of the men had all five of these healthful lifestyle habits. Those who followed a nutritious diet and drank alcohol moderately had a 35 percent reduced risk of heart attack. Those who avoided tobacco reduced heart attack risk by 36 percent.

Prostate cancer risk: In another study, researchers evaluated 1,806 men with prostate cancer that had been detected with PSA (prostate–specific antigen) screening, and compared them to 12,005 men in the same general population (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, Sept 23, 2014;23(10);1-12). The men who ate primarily a plant diet, particularly with tomatoes, had a much lower risk for prostate cancer. The more strictly they stuck to the plant diet, the less likely they were to develop prostate cancer.

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