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Fiona Haynes

DASH Diet May Lower Women’s Heart Attack Risk

By April 15, 2008

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Good news for women following the low-fat, high-fiber DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), aimed at controlling blood pressure. A 24-year study of more than 88,000 healthy women showed that those who ate a diet high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, and low-fat dairy products were 24 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and 18 percent less likely to have a stroke, than women following a more usual American diet.

The women weren’t specifically following the DASH diet, but their food choices were similar in most respects, with one notable difference. The women who lowered their risk of heart attack and stroke included about a half serving of either red meat or processed meat a day, whereas the DASH diet emphasizes lean meat, poultry and plant-based proteins. Still, a serving size of red meat (three ounces) is about the size of a deck of cards, so a half serving was probably not enough to dilute the benefits of their otherwise healthy eating habits.

Fung, Teresa T.; Chiuve, Stephanie E.; McCullough, Marjorie L.; et al. Adherence to a DASH-Style Diet and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke in Women Archives of Internal Medicine 2008; 168 (7): 713-720

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

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