New Research on Heart Health, Nutrition, and Psychological Wellbeing

Heart disease is a major cause of death in the developed countries but the good news is that scientists and academics now have a better understanding of lifestyles and behaviors that keep the heart healthy.

Your Diet

New research has found a direct link between heart disease and red meat. According to researchers, carnitine, a bio-compound in meat, triggers specific reactions in the gut. These reactions increase the risk for heart problems. A growing body of literature also indicates that the consumption of red meat hardens and narrows the blood vessels (arteries). People who consume more red meat are at a higher risk for atherosclerosis. To help prevent heart problems, researchers are in the process of creating new drugs to block or postpone the development of cardiovascular problems. A recent study also found that non-smokers who exercise, have a balanced diet, and drink in moderation are at a lower risk of heart attack and chronic problems over 11 years on average. In fact, people who have healthier lifestyles are over 85 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack compared to persons who drink too much and are overweight.

Your Emotions

Research also shows a link between traumatic events and experiences and heart problems, and older and middle-aged women are at a higher risk. Recent studies have found that the risk for cardiovascular problems is 65 percent higher, especially among women with lower income levels and a history of financial problems. Those who are below the poverty threshold are at a higher risk. While previous research has found a link between negative experiences and heart problems in men, new studies have shown that women are also susceptible. Even the healthiest person can suffer a heart attack but psychological stress is a key factor. Negative events that increase the risk for cardiovascular problems include underemployment, the death of a loved one, and chronic illnesses. In addition to mentally-induced stress, women who smoke are also at a slightly higher risk for heart attack. Women with multiple divorces are also more susceptible, especially when combined with other factors such as more limited resources.

And while there is no secret to heart health, certain lifestyle choices help reduce the risk for heart problems. A balanced diet is the key to good heart health and combines whole grains, legumes, vegetables and lean meat.