Five simple lifestyle choices can prevent most heart attacks in postmenopausal women, according to a study published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The heart healthy five are: eating a healthy diet, low alcohol intake (five grams or less per day), regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking.
Five grams of alcohol is about 2 ounces of wine, ¼ a bottle (100 ml) of beer or half an ounce of hard liquor.
In the study, 24,444 healthy postmenopausal women tracked their diet and lifestyle patterns for almost 10 years. Food frequency questionnaires were used to obtain information about how often they ate 96 different foods. Data on alcohol intake and other heart disease risk factors, such as family history, were also collected.
Compared to those who didn't eat healthfully, women who combined low alcohol intake with a healthy diet - plenty of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish and legumes - had a 57 percent lower risk of heart attack.
Women who ate a healthy diet and participated in physical activity, maintained a healthy weight and didn't smoke had their risk of a heart attack decrease by more than 75 percent. Consuming low amounts of alcohol in addition to these four lifestyle choices resulted in a 92 percent drop in heart attack risk.
Heart disease is a growing cause of death and disability among Canadian women. Postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of heart disease due to the loss of estrogen that accompanies menstrual cessation.
In Canada, 62 percent of women between the ages of 64 and 75 have multiple risk factors for heart disease.For more information about managing heart risk during menopause, check out Leslie Beck's Nutrition Guide to Menopause.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.