The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hourglass clue
- Fat around hips produces beneficial hormone

A curvy figure does not just help a woman look voluptuous, it also keeps her healthy. If a group of Danish researchers is to be believed, fat stored around women’s hips can actually prevent heart disease, diabetes and blood pressure.

According to researchers from the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen ‘apple-shaped’ women ' those with excess fat around the waist ' are likely to be less healthy than curvy or ‘pear-shaped’ women ' who accumulate more fat on their hips.

The study led by Berit Heitmann, a professor of nutritional epidemiology, looked at more than 50,000 men and women of different shapes over a period of time to observe individual health responses ' particularly heart diseases.

They found that hip circumference doesn’t affect the heart health of men, but in women, a wider hip could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 86 per cent. In terms of cardiovascular disease as a whole, the researchers found that women with greater hip circumference were 46 per cent less likely to have the disease.

The researchers speculate that when fat is stored around hips in women it is more likely to produce adiponectin, a hormone which has anti-inflammatory effects and reduces the risk of heart diseases. According to the researchers a hip size of 14 inches is the ideal measurement. “It is not just a question of having wide hips, it is a question of having hips that are not too narrow,” concludes Heitmann.

3 more factors to A healthier heart

1: Laughter can keep your heart healthy, suggests a study presented in at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology. The researchers based at Maryland in the US studied 20 people and found that laughter helps heart by releasing substances like endorphins and nitric oxide which inhibit stress-related hormones and also dilate blood vessels. Nitric oxide also expands blood vessels, thus helping the heart.

2: Drinking milk can help prevent heart attacks, suggests a study presented at the National Dairy Council briefing at Dublin, Ireland. Researchers based at Cardiff studied 400,000 people for 28 years and found those who had milk were 13 per cent less likely to catch heart attacks and 17 per cent less prone to have stroke.

3: An apple a day can indeed keep heart disease at bay, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. It found that an apple is a rich source of anti-oxidants called polyphenols, which help prevent cellular damage in the body.

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