There’s yet another reason for women to stay fit, eat healthy, abstain from smoking and maintain their weight at a healthy level.
In the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, each of the different factors — a Mediterranean-style diet, a healthy weight, not smoking and exercise — were linked to a smaller chance of sudden cardiac death, which is directly related to a malfunctioning of the electrical rhythm of the heart. Added together, the factors were tied to a 92 per cent reduced risk of heart problems. Stephanie Chiuve, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the lead author of the study says, “The more you adhere to this healthy lifestyle, the better you are in terms of your risk of sudden cardiac death.”
Chiuve and her colleagues looked at results from the Nurses’ Health Study, in which more than 81,000 women periodically answered surveys about their health and lifestyle over 26 years. Women who ate a diet closest to the Mediterranean diet, which has a high proportion of vegetables, fruits, nuts, omega-3 fats, and fish, along with moderate amounts of alcohol and small amounts of red meat, had the lowest risk of unexpected cardiac issues — 40 per cent less than those whose diets least resembled the Mediterranean diet.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association, did not look at how long women stuck to each of the healthier lifestyle factors, nor was it able to prove that healthy living is actually responsible for the drop in sudden cardiac death risk. The researchers, however, did conclude that 81 per cent of cases of sudden cardiac death were due to unhealthy lifestyles.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2011.
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