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Healthy Diet Lowers Death Risk for Women
Date:6/23/2008

Study found eating fruits, veggies, whole grains most protective against heart disease

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Women can protect themselves against death from heart disease and other causes by sticking with a diet that is low in saturated fats and sugar and high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, a new study suggests.

"We investigated a Western eating pattern -- lots of red and processed meat, French fries, refined grains and sweets -- and a prudent pattern -- lots of fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish and poultry -- in relation to mortality," explained study author Christin Heidemann, who conducted her research while in the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. She is now a research scientist in the department of epidemiology at the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Nuthetal.

"[Women] with a high adherence to the prudent pattern had a 17 percent lower long-term risk of premature death from all causes, and a 28 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, compared to women with a low adherence to this pattern," Heidemann noted.

The findings were expected to be published in the July 15 issue of Circulation.

The researchers noted that what they defined as a prudent diet closely reflects dietary recommendations from the American Heart Association that target all healthy men and women, including taking steps to: limit saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium; to lower sugar consumption; to eat fish twice weekly; to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole-grain and high-fiber foods; and to eat fat-free and low-fat dairy products.

The results mirror earlier reports such as one out of the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health that was published in Circulation earlier this year that also suggested a Western diet can compromise overall health.

In that earlier study of 10,000 Americans, a diet
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