I like simple, so when I heard results coming out of Johns Hopkins on how you can slash your risk of developing heart disease by 80% with life style modification, I was very excited.
Published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found profound benefits in adopting these four healthy habits:
1) Not smoking
2) Incorporate regular exercise
3) Adopt a healthy diet
4) Keep a healthy weight
Researchers evaluated data on more than 6,200 men and women, age 44-84, from white, African-American, Hispanic and Chinese backgrounds. All were followed for an average of 7.6 years. Those who adopted all four healthy behaviors had an 80 percent lower death rate over that time period compared to participants with none of the healthy behaviors.
Not smoking played the biggest role in reducing the risk of heart disease and death. "In fact, smokers who adopted two or more of the healthy behaviors still had lower survival rates after 7.6 years than did nonsmokers who were sedentary and obese,” said Roger Blumenthal, M.D., cardiologist and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
By “healthy diet,” the study's authors mean a Mediterranean-style diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and fish. In addition to cardiovascular benefits, a Mediterranean-style diet has shown such possible benefits as reducing breast cancer and symptoms of menopause and helping to preserve memory.
Remember, this is not just about heart disease. The researchers emphasize that their study shows the importance of healthy lifestyle for preventing mortality from all causes. "While there are risk factors that people can't control, such as their family history and age, these lifestyle measures are things that people can change and consequently make a big difference in their health. That's why we think this is so important."
Need help incorporating these habits into your lifestyle? Talk to us at the pharmacy to see how we can help you.