Walking As Good As Vigorous Exercise For Heart Health

Several studies indicate that brisk walking may be just as good for your heart as more vigorous exercise such as jogging, running, or swimming.

One of the largest studies on the effects of exercise on heart disease prevention was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in August of 1999. The study consisted of 72,488 females from the Nurses Health Study (NHS). The participants were 40 to 65 at the beginning of the study in 1986. The study continued for eight years during which 645 coronary deaths (475 deaths from heart attacks and 170 from other coronary heart disease) were observed.

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Tall People Less Likely To Develop Coronary Heart Disease

Scientific studies suggest that taller people are at a lower risk of coronary heart disease, even after adjusting for other heart disease risk factors. Studies have found that on average a 1cm (0.4 inch) increase in height is associated with around a 2% decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease.

One of the largest studies on the relationship between heart disease and height was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1995.

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The Relationship Between Nitric Oxide, Arginine, And The Heart

Nitric oxide (NO) plays an important role in cardiovascular health. The chemical is produced in the inner lining of the blood vessels (the endothelium). Numerous enzymes in the endothelium play a role in converting the amino acid arginine and oxygen into nitric oxide through a series of intermediate steps.

Nitric oxide signals the smooth muscle in the blood vessels to relax which improves blood flow Nitric oxide has beneficial effects on many heart disease risk factors. Several studies have demonstrated a link between hypertension and low levels of nitric oxide in the blood.

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Diets High In Fiber Lower Heart Disease Risk

Cereal mixtureIndividuals who consume high fiber diets are as much as 30% less likely to develop heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases such as strokes according to recent evidence.

One study, published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine in February 2004, looked at data from 10 previous studies in order to determine the effects of dietary fiber intake on the risk of heart disease.

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Pectin, Found In Apples & Grapefruit, Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Apple on treeHigh levels of LDL cholesterol and a high ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol are both considered to be strong risk factors for heart disease. Several studies have found that pectin, a complex carbohydrate found in many fruits, can lower LDL cholesterol levels and therefore improve heart health.

In 1987, a group of scientists at the University of Florida studied the effects of pectin on serum cholesterol levels in a group of 27 individuals who were at a moderate to high risk of heart disease.

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Anger, Hostility, & Stress Lead To Heart Disease

Recent scientific evidence has shown that a person’s emotional state can have a significant effect on their likelihood of developing coronary heart disease.

Emotions such as anger, hostility, stress, and happiness all play a role in either reducing or increasing heart disease risk. Researchers believe that in individuals that have none of the traditional risk factors associated with heart disease, emotions may be responsible for as many as 50% of heart attacks.

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B Vitamin Deficiencies Increase Homocysteine Levels & Heart Disease Risk

Vitamins in bottleHomocysteine is an amino acid that is becoming an increasingly important risk factor for coronary heart disease and strokes. Homocysteine is believed to degrade and inhibit the formation of the major components of arteries – collagen, elastin & proteoglycans which increases the rate of arterial decline leading to conditions such as atherosclerosis.

Several studies have demonstrated the link between elevated homocysteine levels and an increased risk of hospitalization and death from cardiovascular causes.

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Moderate Alcohol Consumption Helps Prevent Ischemic Heart Disease

A pint of beerPeople who consume two alcoholic drinks a day may be as much as 30% less likely to die from heart disease compared to non-drinkers according to a recent Danish study published in the European Heart Journal.

The study included 11,914 men and women from the Copenhagen Heart Study and spanned a period of almost 20 years. Researchers tracked participants leisure time, physical activity levels, and weekly consumption of alcohol in order to determine the effects of physical activity and exercise on ischemic heart disease.

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