According to a new study, healthy lifestyle choices may help men cut down heart attack risk by up to 80 percent.
Following a healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a healthy weight and diet, exercise, not smoking and moderating alcohol intake, could prevent four out of five coronary events in men.
“It is not surprising that healthy lifestyle choices would lead to a reduction in heart attacks,” said lead author of the study, Agneta Akesson, associate professor at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
“What is surprising is how drastically the risk dropped due to these factors,” Akesson added.
For the study, the researchers examined a population of 20,721 healthy Swedish men aged 45-79 years of age and followed them for 11 years.
Men in the study with the lowest risk were non-smokers, who walked or cycled for at least 40 minutes every day, exercised at least one hour per week, had a waist circumference of below 95 centimeters, and consumed moderate amounts of alcohol.
They also followed a healthy diet with a regular consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, reduced-fat dairy products, whole grains and fish.
The researchers found a clear reduction in risk for heart attack for each individual lifestyle factor the participants practiced.
Having a low-risk diet together with a moderate alcohol consumption led to an estimated 35 percent lower risk of heart attack compared to the high-risk group, those who practice none of the low-risk factors.
Men who combined the low-risk diet and moderate alcohol consumption with not smoking, being physically active and having a low amount of abdominal fat, had 86 percent lower risk.
The researchers found similar results in men with hypertension and high cholesterol levels.
The study appeared in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.