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Healthy diet reduces risk of second heart attack: study


17:28, December 07, 2012

(File photo)

VANCOUVER, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- A heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish significantly reduces the risk of a second heart attack and stroke in people with cardiovascular disease, according to a Canadian study.

The study, conducted by researchers at McMaster University, was published online recently in the American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal.

After studying almost 32,000 patients in 40 countries over five years, the researchers found people with a heart-healthy diet had a 14 percent reduction in risk for new heart attacks and a 19 percent reduction in risk for stroke.

In addition, the healthy diet helped them reduce risk for cardiovascular death and congestive heart failure by 35 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

In the study, a healthy diet was indicated by a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts as well as a high intake of fish compared to meat, poultry and eggs.

While drug treatments, such as Aspirin, substantially lower the patients' risk of another heart attack, the study is believed to be the first to show a high-quality diet also significantly lowers their risk.

"Physicians should advise their high-risk patients to improve their diet and eat more vegetables, fruits, grains and fish," said Mahshid Dehghan, the study's lead author. "This could substantially reduce cardiovascular recurrence beyond drug therapy alone and save lives globally."

Healthy eating was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease worldwide, according to the researchers.

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