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Originally published September 15 2009

Evidence Mounts: European Conference Highlights Natural Health Strategies to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

by S. L. Baker, features writer

(NaturalNews) Natural health advocates have spread the word for decade after decade that heart disease and stroke can almost always be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle of optimum nutrition, exercise, fresh air and sunshine. But these strategies have often been dismissed by mainstream medicine as everything from nutrition "faddism" to downright quackery. Finally, that attitude appears to be changing. A report just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this week found that men who exercised regularly, drank moderately, did not smoke, controlled their weight and ate a diet that included cereal, fruits and vegetables greatly lowered their risk of heart failure. And now comes an announcement that the upcoming European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2009, the largest meeting of cardiologists in the world, will center on the huge amount of scientific evidence that now shows natural health promoters have been right all along: a healthy lifestyle can prevent cardiovascular disease.

A second study in the current issue of JAMA had additional good heart health news about how lifestyle factors can significantly lower blood pressure in women. Scientists used data from the Nurses' Health Study to study more than 80,000 women. Those who lived healthy lifestyles -- including regular exercise and keeping their weight at a healthy level and keeping alcohol use to a moderate level -- had lower blood pressure. What's more, taking a folic acid supplement also helped protect from hypertension. Overall, the women who lived the healthiest lives had an 80 per cent lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

ESC spokesman Professor Joep Perk from the Oskarshamn District Hospital in Sweden noted the 80 per cent reduced risk of hypertension echoes the result of a 2004 study by McMaster University in Canada which showed that 90 per cent of first heart attacks were due to nine risk factors, all related to lifestyle. "So there's a consistent pattern here suggesting that four out of five cases of hypertension or heart attack are amenable to lifestyle intervention. So most of us can do something about prevention. It's a public health issue, and we need to put our heads together," Professor Perk said in a statement to the media.

He emphasized the three top points of the ESC Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention: don't smoke, exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, and maintain a normal weight through exercise and appropriate calorie intake. "These two studies yet again confirm the wisdom of this advice," Professor Perk said, "and provide even more evidence to translate our knowledge into action."

The upcoming ESC Congress, which will be held in Barcelona from August 29 to September 2, is expected to draw more 30,000 participants with presentations selected from more than 9000 submitted abstracts. Approximately 50 separate sessions will be held about how lifestyle factors and natural health strategies can prevent heart and vascular disease.

Of course, a lot of the evidence presented at the prestigious European cardiology meeting probably won't be news to regular readers of NaturalNews. For example, as reported previously, exercise has been shown to beat angioplasty in helping prevent heart events (, vitamin B12 can protect cardiovascular health ( and CoQ10 is a powerful natural substance that can treat heart failure (

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