5 Heart Health Facts Backed by New Research

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Exercise, especially if you have diabetes

The protective effect of exercise is very important for those with type 2 diabetes. A study published in the _European Journal of Preventive Cardiology _found that out of 15,000 Swedes with type 2 diabetes, those who rarely exercised at the start of the study were 25 percent more likely to have a heart attack or stroke over a five-year period, and 70 percent more likely to die from one.

Watch out for food labels

Sometimes nutrition "endorsements" can be misleading. Specifically, don't assume that foods that have the red heart-check mark from the American Heart Association are low in sodium. A lawsuit recently filed against Campbell Soup and the AHA claims that the heart-check mark on Campbell's Healthy Request soups is misleading because the soup contains 410 mg of sodium per cup, which is not exactly "low sodium."

Get your flu shot

You can reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke by preventing the flu - especially older people who have cardiovascular disease. A recent analysis of six clinical trials of people at high cardiovascular risk showed that vaccination was associated with a 55 reduction in the odds of having another cardiovascular event in patients who recently had a heart attack.

Drink tea

Of all the potential benefits of tea, those involving cardiovascular disease appear to be the most promising. According to an Australian study, published in 2013 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking three cups of black tea a day may help reduce night-time fluctuations in blood pressure.

Take care of your gums

Although research around the connection between gum and heart disease has been murky in the past, a new study recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that bacteria that causes gum disease directly correlates with changes in atherosclerosis in the carotid artery--so much so that when a patient's gum health improved, carotid narrowing slowed significantly.