Research Roundup: Even Light Drinking Carries Risk; Lifestyle Changes & Blood Pressure Meds; Diet May Lead to Better Eye Health

  • Even Light Drinking Carries Risk. Drinking lightly—just one to two drinks four or more times per week—increases risk of premature death by 20 percent, compared to drinking three times a week or less, researchers say. Data from more than 400,000 people ages 18 to 85 found the increased risk of death was consistent across all age groups. Though the study found that drinking alcohol may in some cases reduce risk of heart-related problems, daily drinking eliminated any benefits, increasing both cancer and mortality risk.

(Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research,
October 2018)

  • Lifestyle Changes and Blood Pressure Meds. Eating healthier and getting regular exercise can significantly reduce the number of patients who need medication to lower blood pressure, according to researchers. The study randomly assigned 129 obese or overweight men and women ages 40 to 80 years who had high blood pressure to one of three 16-week interventions. One followed the DASH eating plan (emphasizing fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and minimizes meat consumption) and followed a weight management program. Group two followed the DASH diet, and group three made no changes. Only 15 percent of those who changed both diet and exercise habits needed meds, compared to 23 percent in group two, and nearly 50 percent in group three.

(American Heart Association’s Joint Hypertension
2018 Scientific Sessions)

  • Diet May Lead to Better Eye Health. A Mediterranean style diet (fruits, vegetables, fish, less meat, unrefined grains, legumes, and olive oil) may prevent age related macular degeneration (AMD), a blinding disease, research shows. Food frequency questionnaires from nearly 5,000 people were analyzed every five years for 21 years or every two years for four years. Those who closely followed the diet were 41 percent less likely to develop AMD compared to those who did not.

(Ophthalmology, October 2018)

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