Improving Your Diet After A Heart Attack Reduces Mortality
After a heart attack, some survivors make a commitment to a healthier diet in the hopes of prolonging their lives, while unfortunately, others do not. A new study now confirms that those who make lasting dietary changes experience a much lower mortality risk than those who make no changes at all. Beginning in the 1970’s, researchers tracked the dietary habits of thousands of men and women, none of whom had a history of cardiovascular disease, stroke or cancer. The participants were assigned diet-quality scores based on their consumption of red and processed meats, nuts, sugar-sweetened beverages, vegetables, fats, alcohol, whole grains and salt. Over time, out of the 4,098 subjects used for this study, approximately 1,133 had heart attacks. The researchers tracked changes to the diet scores after the heart attacks and found that individuals who improved their diets were 30 percent less likely to die from any cause and 40 percent less likely to die of heart disease than those whose scores remained unchanged. Positive changes in diet included increases in the consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and reduced consumption of trans fats, meat and sugary drinks. Overall, individuals who made the greatest improvements to their scores experienced a 30 percent reduction in subsequent mortality and cardiac events than those who made little or no improvements.
Source: JAMA Internal Medicine, online September 2, 2013.
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