Wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruits and vegetables cut the risk of heart disease

Scientists in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ have discovered the 'Polymeal', a set of ingredients which cuts the risk of heart (cardiovascular) disease by 76% and significantly increases life expectancy.

Results of dining on the Polymeal were most dramatic for men, who were projected to live on average 6.6 years longer in total than those not eating the meal. Men will also live for nine years longer without succumbing to heart disease, and those that do will suffer it for less years of their lives.

Women eating the Polymeal will also live significantly longer, nearly five years more than women not eating the meal. They will also put off the onset of heart disease for eight years longer.

The Polymeal includes wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruits and vegetables, almonds and garlic, eaten on a daily basis (but four times a week for fish). Scientists reviewed the medical literature on how much each ingredient cuts heart disease, blood pressure or cholesterol levels by varying amounts, (150ml wine daily for instance reduces heart disease by 32%) and worked out the combined effect of the ingredients. They then calculated the potential effect across an ongoing study of American adults.

The findings follow research last year (2003) into a 'Polypill', a combination of drugs taken in one dose which was designed to reduce heart disease by more than 80%. The authors of the Polymeal study were searching for a non-pharmaceutical alternative.

In Western society we are all at risk from the causes of cardiovascular disease, say the authors, and the diseases that accompany it. Following the Polymeal promises to be an effective, non-pharmacological, safe and tasty means to increasing life expectancy and reducing heart disease across the population, they conclude.

Contacts:
Oscar Franco, Scientific Researcher, Dept of Public Health, Erasmus Medical Centre, University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Netherlands
Tel: +31 104 087 732 or +31 104 08 7 714
Email: [email protected]

Or via press office contact: Fred Balvert, tel: +31 10 408 8056, mob: +31 641 43 1721
Email: [email protected]

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