Benefit of Multivitamins for Heart Health Needs Further Study

Could the daily multivitamin (MVI) many people take "just in case" their eating plan falls short help heart health? New evidence suggests it may require sticking with a MVI for a long time to realize a heart benefit, if there is one.

Minerals Linked to Fewer Strokes

Are you getting the minerals in your diet that you need to help reduce stroke risk? In a new look at data on more than 180,000 women in the Nurses Health Study, combined intake of magnesium, potassium and calcium was associated with lower stroke risk. Separately, participants with the highest intake of magnesium and potassium, but not calcium, were also at lower risk.

Genes Affect Sweet Taste Perception

Your genes may help explain why you put more sugar in your coffee and on your cereal than other people do. A new study of 1,900 twins and their siblings reports that about 30% of variations in sweet taste perception can be attributed to genetics. People who perceive sweet taste less strongly may add more to satisfy their sweet tooth. Researchers tested four sweeteners, including two non-nutritive options, but found no difference between them, suggesting a single mechanism for sweetness perception regardless of calorie content. The findings were published in Twin Research and Human Genetics.

Big Apple Flags Restaurant Salt

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan that would require many chain restaurants to attach a menu saltshaker icon (pictured) to any dish exceeding 2,300 milligrams of sodium-the entire days limit in a single meal. New York would become the first US city to adopt such a rule. Examples of dishes that exceed the 2,300-milligram level include Applebees chicken-fried steak (3,240 milligrams), TGI Fridays Jack Daniels Ribs (3,220 milligrams) and KFCs Famous Bowl (2,350 milligrams). By setting the bar so high, however, some experts noted the cautionary icon would not be required for items that nonetheless contain more than half a days sodium, such as McDonalds bacon and cheese quarter-pounder (1,380 milligrams) or Olive Gardens Florentine Rollatini with Chicken (1,510 milligrams).

Consuming More Potassium Linked to Lower Stroke Risk in Women

A new analysis of data from the Womens Health Initiative (WHI) shows that postmenopausal women who consume the most potassium in their diets are at lower risk of suffering a stroke. The association was strongest in women without hypertension. Although the WHI is an observational study, which cant prove cause and effect, scientists say it provides another reason to boost your potassium intake-especially given that most Americans fall far short of meeting recommended potassium requirements.

Married People Heart-Healthier

The largest study of its kind reports that married people are less likely to suffer from a range of cardiovascular problems, from heart disease to stroke to circulatory issues. In an analysis of data on more than 3.5 million Americans, average age 64, whod undergone health screenings by a private company, married people were 5% less likely to have cardiovascular problems than singles. Compared to married participants, widowed people were at 3% greater risk and divorced people at 5% more risk. The correlation between marital status and cardiovascular health was strongest for those under age 50.

Take a Hike to Lower Your Risk of Stroke

Two new studies suggest that one simple way to reduce your risk of suffering a stroke is to lace up your walking shoes and get moving. In a British study of nearly 3,500 initially healthy men ages 60-80, those who spent time walking were less likely to suffer a stroke, with risk declining as walking time increased. In another new finding, reported at a conference, women who walked or engaged in other moderate-intensity exercise were 20% less likely to suffer a stroke.

Habitual Caffeine Consumption Does Not Increase Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

Contrary to long-standing concerns about the stimulant effect of caffeine sparking atrial fibrillation, a new analysis concludes that its unlikely habitual caffeine intake from coffee and other dietary sources increases risk. In fact, the pooled analysis found that atrial fibrillation risk fell with increasing caffeine intake.

Go Easy on Southern-Style Fare to Avoid Strokes

While eating the traditional fare of Mediterranean countries promotes heart health, consuming fried foods, sweet tea and other typical foods of the Southern United States has the opposite effect, sharply increasing the risk of stroke.

No Proof Gum Disease Causes Heart Disease

An expert review of 537 studies on periodontal disease and risk of heart attack or stroke