Giving up sweetened sodas might be a simple and inexpensive way to lower women’s risk of heart disease. Results of a study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) showed that midlife women who consumed two or more sweet drinks per day were nearly four times as likely to have high triglycerides (the chemical form in which fat moves through the bloodstream) as were women who drank less than one sugar-sweetened beverage daily.
Soda drinkers were also more likely to have the impaired blood sugar levels that signal prediabetes. Weight played no role here – the study found that the risks applied whether or not women were overweight. (These effects didn’t show up among men being studied, the researchers reported.)
Taking good care of your teeth is another heart-healthy practice. A study conducted in Taiwan presented at the AHA meeting found that people who had their teeth cleaned and scraped in the dentist’s office at least once a year had a risk of heart attack that was 24 percent lower (and a 13 percent lower risk of stroke) than those who didn’t practice such good dental hygiene.