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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Randy

The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study (HNHS), started in 1976, is considered to be a key long-term population study on women’s health.

The studies have identified important health risk factors including: persistent organic pollutants consumed through contaminated food may be linked to diabetes; eating meat or eggs before pregnancy may raise gestational diabetes risk; taking in less than a single alcoholic drink per day may still raise the risk of breast cancer; daily consumption of the amount of cholesterol found in one egg may shorten a woman’s lifespan as much as limited smoking; meat intake may be an infertility risk factor; there’s a positive association between teen milk intake, especially skim milk, and teen acne; and nut consumption does not lead to expected weight gain.

Study findings have also suggested specific steps women can take to improve their health including: nut and grapefruit consumption may help prevent breast cancer; getting enough Vitamin E may reduce asthma risk; eating berries, along with cruciferous and green leafy vegetables may reduce cognitive decline; sufficient magnesium intake may help prevent heart attacks; getting enough plant-based omega-3’s may reduce depression; and, eating more plant protein and reducing refined carbohydrate intake may reduce heart disease risk.

The information on this page has been compiled from the research presented in the videos listed. Sources for each video can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab.

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