Six steps for promoting heart health in women

August 21, 2018 by Len Canter, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)—While the total number of U.S. deaths from heart disease has declined in recent years, it has stayed the same for younger women.

This prompted researchers from Harvard and Indiana universities to look for that could promote heart health. They analyzed 20 years of records from 89,000 women, aged 27 to 44, who participated in the Nurses' Health Study. The investigators found six habits that define a .

Number 1 is not smoking.

Number 2 is having a normal BMI (or ), a ratio of weight to height.

Number 3 is getting 2.5 hours or more of physical activity every week.

Number 4 is watching seven or fewer hours of TV a week.

Number 5 is eating a diet that scores in the top 40 percent of the Alternate Healthy Eating Index, a version of the national dietary guidelines for Americans based on foods shown to prevent serious illnesses. Here's how.

Each day, eat:

  • 5 or more servings of vegetables.
  • 4 or more servings of whole fruit.
  • 5 servings or 75 grams of whole grains.
  • 1 serving of nuts and legumes.

In general:

  • Eat two 4-ounce servings of fish, especially fatty fish, each week.
  • Replace saturated fats with .
  • Eat less than one serving of red or processed meat a month.
  • Eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices.
  • Eat little or no trans fat.
  • Eat little salt.

Number 6 is having no more than one alcoholic drink a day. One drink is 4 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

This lifestyle also protects against diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Yet experts acknowledge the challenge of getting women to adopt it and hope that changing the nation's collective mindset from "preventing disease" to "promoting health" will help. They also stress the need to start kids on this healthy path because childhood is when lifelong habits are set.

Explore further: Improve diet quality to boost weight loss

More information: The American Heart Association's Go Red for Women details important steps to protect heart health.

Related Stories

Improve diet quality to boost weight loss

August 9, 2018
(HealthDay)—Eating fewer calories is essential when you want to lose weight, but there's growing evidence that the quality of those calories matters, too. Eating high-quality foods not only boosts weight loss, but also ...

How healthy is your diet?

June 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—As Americans, we're making some headway in our efforts to improve the quality of our diet, but we're far from ideal levels.

These foods will lower your risk of heart disease

November 6, 2017
Low-fat or low-carb? Butter or margarine? Avocado oil or coconut oil? Bombarded with contradictory media reports on the ever-changing landscape of nutrition research, it's difficult for anyone to know which fats and other ...

Young binge drinkers may have higher heart risks

June 27, 2018
Young adults who frequently binge drink were more likely to have certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease than non-binge drinkers, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access ...

A healthy lifestyle may prevent heart disease in nearly three out of four women

January 5, 2015
A new study that followed nearly 70,000 women for two decades concluded that three-quarters of heart attacks in young women could be prevented if women closely followed six healthy lifestyle practices.

Home remedies: controlling and managing your blood pressure

October 4, 2017
Lifestyle changes can help you control and prevent high blood pressure, even if you're taking blood pressure medication.

Recommended for you

China's doctor shortage prompts rush for AI health care

September 20, 2018
Qu Jianguo, 64, had a futuristic medical visit in Shanghai as he put his wrist through an automated pulse-taking machine and received the result within two minutes on a mobile phone—without a doctor present.

Crunched for time? High-intensity exercise = same cell benefits in fewer minutes

September 20, 2018
A few minutes of high-intensity interval or sprinting exercise may be as effective as much longer exercise sessions in spurring beneficial improvements in mitochondrial function, according to new research. The small study ...

Time to ban the sale of energy drinks to children, says senior doctor

September 19, 2018
It's time to bring in laws to ban the sale of caffeinated energy drinks to children and young people in England to tackle the twin epidemics of obesity and mental health problems, argues Professor Russell Viner, President ...

For-profit hospitals correlated with higher readmission rates

September 19, 2018
Patients who receive care in a for-profit hospital are more likely to be readmitted than those who receive care in nonprofit or public hospitals, according to a new study published by University of Illinois at Chicago researchers.

Sugar content of most supermarket yogurts well above recommended threshold

September 18, 2018
A comprehensive survey of ingredients in yogurts highlights high sugar levels in many—particularly organic yogurts and those marketed towards children.

Research confronts 'yucky' attitudes about genetically engineered foods

September 18, 2018
Is a non-browning apple less "natural" than non-fat milk? In one case, people have injected something into apple DNA to prevent it from turning brown after it's cut. In the other, people used technology to remove something ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.