A healthy diet prevents cancer and heart disease in women

September 18, 2008 in Cancer Prevention, Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

A healthy diet prevents cancer and heart disease in women

Women may cut their risk of premature death from cancer and heart disease in half by following a healthy lifestyle that includes a diet that's low in red meat and trans fats, say researchers from Harvard University.

This new study looked at 80,000 women who were aged 34 to 59 who kept detailed records on their diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, weight, smoking and disease history. After 24 years, there were 1,790 deaths from heart disease and 4,527 deaths from cancer,

According to the researchers, over 50 percent of these premature deaths could have been avoided if the women kept their weight in check and ate minimal amounts of red meat and trans fat in addition to making other healthy lifestyle choices.

Red meat is a culprit in the development of cancer and heart disease because it contains saturated fat in addition to other potential harmful components. Recent research has linked high intakes of red meat to elevated risk of colon and breast cancers.

Healthier alternatives to red meat include beans, tofu, seed and nuts, and omega-3 rich fish like salmon, tuna, Artic char, sardines, herring and Chilean sea bass.

Trans fats, which may be more harmful than saturated fat,  are found in many sweets and snack foods such as cakes, pastries, candy, crackers and granola bars. When you feel you need a snack, reach for fresh fruit, homemade baked goods or low-fat yogurt instead of these trans fat laden foods.

For more tips on how to make healthy food choices, check out Leslie Beck's 10 Steps to Healthy Eating or click here to find out if nutrition counselling is right for you.

This study was published online in the September 18, 2008 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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.