Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Risk Of Death From Heart Failure

The sunLow levels of Vitamin D may substantially increase the risk of death due to heart failure according to the results of a study conducted by Israeli researchers and published in the European Journal of Heart Failure in February. The study also found that regular vitamin D supplementation lowered the risk of heart failure by a third.

The researchers, based at the Heart Institute, Hadassah University Hospital, Israel, looked at data from 3,009 heart failure patients and 46 825 controls who were free of heart failure.


Menthol Cigarettes Associated With Higher Stroke Risk

Smokers of menthol cigarettes are more than twice as likely to suffer a stroke than regular cigarette users according to the results of a study published this month in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The research, conducted by Dr Nicholas Vozoris of the Department of Medicine, St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, involved the study of more than 5,000 smokers from the 2001-2008 NHANES study. Around a quarter of study participants normally smoked mentholated cigarettes.


Red Meat Raises Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease Risks

A hunk of steakThose who consume large amounts of red and processed meats are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cancer according to the results of a new study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine earlier this month. The researchers calculated that almost 10% of total deaths could be prevented if individuals reduce their red meat consumption to less than half a serving, or 42 grams, a day.


Black Tea Cuts Blood Pressure, May Lower Heart Disease Risk By Up To 10%

A cup of black teaA small Australian study, published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine last month, has found that three cups of black tea a day may significantly lower blood pressure, reducing heart disease risk by as much as 10%.

The research, led by Dr. Jonathan Hodgson of the School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, involved 95 men and women who were randomized to receive either three cups of black tea a day or a placebo that matched the tea in flavour and caffeine content.


Recent Study Suggests Eating Kiwifruit May Help The Heart

A sliced kiwifruitEating 3 kiwifruit a day may lead to small reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure according to a study presented at the 2011 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida this month.

The study, led by Mette Svendsen of the Oslo University Hospital in Norway, involved 118 middle aged men and women who were randomly assigned to consume either three kiwifruit or one apple per day for eight weeks in addition to their regular diet.


Weight Loss Surgery Slashes Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease By 40%

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic have found that weight loss surgery in obese individuals dramatically improves several cardiovascular risk factors, reducing the 10-year risk of coronary heart disease by an estimated 40%.

The study, which was published online last month in the American Journal of Cardiology, involved the analysis of 52 studies comprising more than 16,000 patients who had undergone bariatric surgery between 1950 and 2010.


Heart Attacks Occur More Than A Decade Earlier In Smokers

Two cigarettesResearch, published online last month in The American Journal of Cardiology, has found that heart attacks occur much earlier in smokers compared to non-smokers. The study also found that female smokers were at a greater risk of smoking related heart problems than men.

The study, which involved more than 3,500 men and women who had been hospitalized for a heart attack between 1999 and 2006, found that male smokers were 9 years younger at admission than male non-smokers while female smokers were 13 years younger than their non-smoking counterparts.


Diclofenac & Other Common Painkillers Raise Heart Attack Risk By Up To 40%

A study, published earlier this week in the journal PLoS Medicine, has raised concerns about the safety of some common painkillers after finding the use of some common drugs including naproxen, ibuprofen, celecoxib, and diclofenac, raise the risk of suffering a heart attack by as much as 40%.

The research, conducted by Patricia McGettigan of the Hull York Medical School in the UK and David Henry of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Canada, involved analysing the results of 51 previous studies involving more than 2.7 million individuals, to establish the effects of painkillers on the risk of myocardial infarction.


Study Finds High Vitamin B6 Levels Slash Odds Of Heart Attack By Up To 82%

In a previous post, we mentioned that B Vitamin deficiencies may increase the risk of heart disease by raising circulating levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that damages arterial walls. A 2009 study published in the journal Circulation has shown just how important one of these B vitamins can be in reducing heart attack risk.


Eating Smaller Meals More Frequently Can Lower Cholesterol

Eating a regular number of “micro-meals” throughout the day rather than one or two large meals can lead to dramatic improvements in cholesterol levels as well as aiding weight loss according to recent research.

One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1992, involved surveying the eating habits of 2034 men and women from Rancho Bernardo, California. The participants were asked about the number of meals and/or snacks they normally ate per day. 9% of participants ate 1-2 meals per day, 72% ate 3 meals per day, and the remaining 19% ate 4 or more meals per day.


Which Meats Have The Lowest Cholesterol Levels?

A leg of hamFor people on a low cholesterol diet, eating meat  can be a tricky issue because virtually all meats have some degree of cholesterol in them. Fortunately there are many meats that are relatively low in cholesterol that can be enjoyed in moderate quantities as part of a balanced diet. The following table shows the cholesterol content of some common meats and meat products listed from highest to lowest cholesterol levels.


Switching To Rye Bread May Reduce Cholesterol Levels

A loaf of rye breadTwo recent studies have found that consuming rye bread, rather than wheat based bread, may reduce cholesterol levels by more than 10%. Rye bread is a popular food item in Germany and eastern European countries such as Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine. It is also widely available in the United States and tends to be darker, slightly denser, and with a stronger flavour than the more common wheat based breads.


Vitamin E Inhibitis Atherosclerosis By Reducing LDL Oxidation

High levels of LDL cholesterol have long been considered to be a major risk factor for heart disease. Many scientists now believe that it is not the LDL cholesterol itself that causes heart disease but the oxidation of the LDL molecule that causes the most damage to arteries. Oxidized LDL molecules are extremely reactive and once deposited in the arteries react strongly with substances in the lining of the arterial wall leading to tissue damage and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.


Baked Beans Lower Cholesterol, Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Some baked beansAt just a dollar a can, baked beans are a quick, inexpensive choice when you’re stuck for meal ideas, however there is also evidence that baked beans can lower cholesterol and reduce your overall risk of heart disease.

A study, published in 1990 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involved the study of 24 men with an average age of 58 who all  suffered from high cholesterol levels. The men had their cholesterol levels and body weight measured at the beginning of the study and were then put on one of three diets for 21 days.


The Heart Benefits Of Fish And Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Recent scientific evidence points to a significant reduction in the incidence of heart disease in those who consume large amounts of fish. In particular, it appears that it is the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish that are responsible for this reduction.

In countries such as Ireland and Japan, and Iceland, where per capita fish consumption is very high, deaths attributable to heart disease are relatively low compared to other developed countries such as the USA and United Kingdom.


Study: Alcohol In Moderation Better Than Abstaining For Heart Attack Survivors

Those who continue to drink alcohol after suffering a heart attack fare better than those who quit drinking according to a study published last month in the American Journal Of Cardiology.

Researchers looked at the health of a group of 325 moderate drinkers who had recently suffered a heart attack. 84% continued to drink moderately following their heart attack while the remaining 16% abstained from drinking. It was found that one year after the heart attack event those who continued to drink were 35% less likely to suffer angina, experienced 21% fewer rehospitalizations and scored higher on quality of life and mental health questionnaires.


Lower Blood Pressure Not Always Better For Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

A blood pressure monitorWhile it is well known that high blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes, scientific evidence also suggests that excessively low blood pressure can be almost as harmful as high blood pressure.

A new study, presented at the American Society of Hypertension meeting in San Francisco this month, looked at how the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack varied with blood pressure in a group of 10,001 coronary heart disease patients.


Diet Changes As Good As Statins For Cholesterol Reduction

A combination of cholesterol lowering foods can achieve similar cholesterol lowering results to statins according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2005.

The research, conducted by Canadian scientists, involved the comparison of a diet rich in foods known to reduce cholesterol with a popular statin known as lovastatin.