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There is strong evidence that regular, light to moderate alcohol intake reduces the risk of heart disease. Death rates from heart attacks are 30-50% lower in low to moderate alcohol drinkers. However, when it comes to cancer, the 2014 World Cancer Report concludes that no amount of alcohol is safe. Alcohol has been causally related to several types of cancer, including cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, colon, liver, pancreatic cancer and female breast cancer. The greater the alcohol intake, the greater the cancer risk. So what is the right amount to drink?  Analysis of the multiple studies evaluating the beneficial and harmful effects of alcohol indicates that 14 g of alcohol for women and 28 g for men on a daily basis is considered moderate. For women this is equal to one 5 oz glass of wine, one shot (1 oz) of most hard liquor drinks and one 12 oz beer. For men, it is twice these amounts. Furthermore, the beneficial effect of alcohol appears to be linked to a consistent drinking pattern of daily, low to moderate alcohol use, usually before or with the evening meal, and without “binge” drinking.

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06

Older overweight men who consume dark chocolate every day may reduce their risk cardiovascular disease as a result of the effects of dark chocolate to reduce arterial stress and inflammation. These findings are reported in a collaborative study by Dutch and Scottish investigators in this month’s issue of the medical journal of the Federation of the American Society of Experimental Biology. Natural chocolate is high in the antioxidant polyphenols called flavonoids. Flavonoids are naturally occurring plant pigments, known to have a whole host of beneficial health effects. Among their most important beneficial effects are as natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances that retard cholesterol plaque growth inside blood vessels. It is this type of plaque that can lead to arterial narrowing, which can then lead to heart attacks and strokes.

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11

We know that both sleep and exercise are vital to good cardiovascular health. In our busy lives, how does one decide which is more important, and which one can you get away with doing less? The right answer should be neither! Both are very important. In fact, according to research from the Sleep Disorders center at Northwestern University in Chicago, a good night’s sleep results in better and more prolonged exercise sessions later that day. However, fewer hours of sleep frequently lead to reduced motivation to exercise. Furthermore, exercise can improve the quality of sleep, with strong evidence that indicates that deep sleep is more restorative and effective for memory, performance and physical health. In other words, exercise and sleep share an intertwined relationship. Robbing yourself of exercise or sleep is counterproductive to good health. Therefore, rather than compromising either sleep or exercise, a better approach is to look at your life and figure out what you can swap for exercise and still keep your sleep. Use the skills of prioritizing and efficient time management to do both.

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22

A new study of over 6000 people, followed over an average of 16 years has concluded that stroke risk is directly linked to their level of anxiety. In particular, those subjects who had the most anxiety-related symptoms and the greatest risk of experiencing a stroke. Both acute and chronic anxiety states are known triggers of strokes and heart attacks, likely related to an increase in stress hormones that can be harmful to the cardiovascular system. Anxiety-lowering behaviors, like healthy exercise regimens and stress-reduction reduce the heart risks.

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11
If there was a drug or supplement that was proven to cause 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 preventable deaths each year, would there be a public outcry to remove it from the pharmacy shelves? That is indeed the consequence of consuming artificial trans fats that are found in commercial food products abundant on our grocery shelves. Last week the U.S. FDA finally took the first regulatory step to remove this dangerous food additive from public consumption.

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