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Specific Diet May Reduce Risk of Heart Failure

Last Updated: May 12, 2009.

Middle-aged and older Swedish women who adhere to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet are significantly less likely to develop heart failure, according to a study in the May 11 Archives of Internal Medicine.

TUESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged and older Swedish women who adhere to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet are significantly less likely to develop heart failure, according to a study in the May 11 Archives of Internal Medicine.

Emily B. Levitan, of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues studied 36,019 women ages 48 to 83 years enrolled in the Swedish Mammography Cohort who were free of heart failure, diabetes, or myocardial infarction at baseline.

During a seven-year follow-up, the researchers identified 443 incident cases of heart failure. After adjusting for factors such as age, physical activity, cigarette smoking, and body mass index, they found that women in the highest quartile of DASH diet adherence as assessed by food-frequency questionnaires had a 37 percent lower incidence of heart failure than women in the lowest quartile. Women with adherence scores in the upper 10 percent had half the incidence of heart failure than women in the lowest quartile.

"Women in the top quartile of the DASH component score ate, on average, 3.0 servings of fruit, 3.5 servings of vegetables, 5.1 servings of whole grains, 1.6 servings of low-fat dairy products, 0.1 servings of sweetened beverages, and 0.8 servings of red or processed meat per day," the authors write. "In comparison, women in the bottom quartile of the score ate, on average, 1.4 servings of fruit, 1.8 servings of vegetables, 3.3 servings of whole grains, 0.6 servings of low-fat dairy products, 0.4 servings of sweetened beverages, and 1.3 servings of red or processed meat per day."

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