Yeah, this is the same thing that has been beat into our subconscious for years. Healthy behaviors translate into healthy hearts. A new study out today, this time from Sweden, is pushing middle-aged men to adopt healthier habits.

Those two key words. Healthy habits. We shouldn’t have to even recite them at this point. Damn you pizza for tasting so good. Researchers grouped participants into ‘healthy’ categories and only one percent of the participants fell into the ultra-healthy area. In this case, being in the one percent was good for your heart.

Risk factors for having a heart attack dropped 86 percent for those that ate and lived clean. Yeah, you know the list is coming. What are the five behaviors to cut your risk of heart attacks by as much as 80 percent?

Men have to drink alcohol in moderation, don’t smoke, exercise, maintain a healthy weight and keep a healthy diet. That means skipping the buffet in favor of a salad. No, that doesn’t mean you pile the equivalent of a bucket of fried chicken onto lettuce.

The study, out in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology studied the medical records and histories if 20,700 Swedish men from 45 to 79 years old starting in 1997. They were then tracked to 2009 to see how their hearts fared.

Eight percent, or 1,724, of the men did not practice any of the five healthy behaviors. Out of that group, 166 of the studies participants had a heart attack.

The one percent? It amounted to 212 participants, of which only three had a heart attack. If that doesn’t push you to go for the one-percent, nothing will.

For those of us that like to roll on training wheels to a healthy lifestyle, each behavior added did have a positive impact on heart health. For example, eating a better diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains reduced a man’s heart attack risk factor by as much as 20 percent.

The study shows that taking simple steps can literally keep the doctor away. Instead of relying on medical advancements, we should be collectively striving for ways to avoid hauling around a backpack of prescription drugs to keep living.

A few drawbacks to the study were the fact it focused on white males and did not focus on lifespan. Still, you’re never going to hear your cardiologist not recommend these five behaviors.

Read the full study here. Those looking for more heart-healthy tips, visit the American Heart Association. They will continue to beat the appropriate food pyramid into your head.


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