You CAN reverse your unhealthy lifestyle to prevent heart attacks and stroke

You CAN reverse your unhealthy lifestyle to prevent heart attacks and stroke

WE all know the importance of eating your five a day – but it’s not always that simple.
Now experts say even in middle age it’s possible to undo the damage of an unhealthy lifestyle and lower the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Getty – Contributor Scientists say you can reduce your risk of heart attacks or stroke – by reversing your unhealthy lifestyle
Scientists have found that boosting your intake of high-quality plant-based foods over time can prolong your life – even among those who started off with bad diets.
The study is the first time researchers have looked at how positive or negative changes in diet may influence a person’s risk of early death, regardless of previous eating habits.
Volunteers included 47,893 women and 25,737 men, with an average age of 64, and no previous history of heart disease or cancer.
They were assessed on changes in their diet over the 12 years prior to entering the study in 1998 and then followed up again 12 years later.
Scientists found that deaths were 10 per cent lower in those who had the biggest increase in a healthy plant-based diet.
Getty – Contributor Increasing your intake of fruit and veg could increase longevity, experts say
Whereas deaths were 11 per cent higher in those with the biggest increase in an unhealthy plant-based diet, such as fruit juices, refined grains, potatoes and sweets.
Results were adjusted for several factors, including age, race, initial diet score, body mass index, weight change, family history of diabetes, heart attack, or cancer, heart disease risk factors, medications, menopausal status and hormone use, initial and changes in smoking and other lifestyle influences, and weight change.
Dr Megu Baden, lead author of the study and research fellow at Harvard University, said: “Over a period of time, consuming more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, while decreasing your intake of refined grains, sweets and desserts, and animal foods such as animal fat meat, and miscellaneous animal-based foods, may lower your risk of death from heart disease and other causes.”
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The researchers said that their results might not be generalisable to other groups of people as the sample was health professionals who were predominantly of European ancestry.
The British Heart Foundation recommends adults follow a well balanced diet of fruit and vegetables, starchy foods like bread and rice, some milk and dairy products as well as meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein.
It suggests only eating a small amount of food and drink high in fats or sugar and choosing options that are lower in fat, salt and sugar where possible.

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