Your risk of heart failure is increased by a variety of factors, such as coronary artery disease, obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and hypertension. What you eat has a major impact on these risk factors.

A new study was recently released in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association that supports eating whole grains to reduce heart disease risk.

The 13 year study evaluated the association between seven different food categories (fruits/vegetables, whole grains, eggs, high-fat dairy, nuts, fish, and red meat) and heart failure risk in over 14,000 adults. During the study, 1,140 adults were hospitalized for heart failure. The study found that heart failure risk was significantly reduced in individuals with a high whole grain intake. Heart failure risk was significantly higher in individuals with increased intake of eggs and high-fat dairy.

A much smaller scale survey of 800 American adults shows promising changes. The first diet and exercise survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association was in 1991 and the most recent in 2002. The goal of the survey is to measure current attitudes and behaviors toward diet and health and identify behavior changes over time.

Findings of the 2008 survey show that consumption of whole grains, vegetables, and fruit has increased, while trans fat, beef, pork, and dairy consumption has decreased.

Increased in the past 5 years:

Whole grains - 56%
Vegetables - 50%
Fruits - 48%
Low-fat foods - 48%
Omega 3 fatty acids - 38%

Decreased in the past 5 years:

Trans fat - reduced 56%
Beef - reduced 41%
Port - reduced 33%
Dairy - reduced 23%
Low-sugar foods - reduced 20%

The survey divided participants into three groups based on diet and exercise habits. Here are the divisions:

I'm already doing it - 43% (5% increase from 2002)
I know I should - 38% (8% increase from 2002)
Don't bother me - 19% (13% decrease from 2002)

So, overall it looks like American's are wising up. However, what's important is you. Where do you fall? Are you increasing your whole grain intake, eating more fruits/veggies, and cutting back on trans fats? Are you doing what you need to, in order to reduce heart failure risk?

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