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Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

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Fat Matters in Heart Disease

According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, middle-aged men who substituted more good fat - omega fatty acids (linoleic acids) and polyunsaturated fats - were 60% less likely to die early of heart disease than men who ate the least amounts of these good fats in their diets.

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Researchers obtained information on 1,551 middle aged men's daily intake of linoleic acid and the total polyunsaturated fats. They checked medical records on the men 15 years later to learn about heart disease and deaths. Men who got the most linoleic acid and polyunsaturated fat got "substantial" heart protection compared with those who ate less fat of any kind and were 62% less likely to die of heart disease than other men in the study.

Dietary fat quality seems to be more important than fat quantity in the reduction of cardiovascular disease mortality in men, he concludes. Linoleic acid is found in oils like olive, corn, safflower, soybean, canola, and sunflower.

To Prevent Stroke, Don't Fry Your Fish

Eating lots of fish prevents stroke in elderly people, but don't fry it!

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Studies looking at health benefits between fish consumption and stroke risk come up with definite conclusions, writes Daariush Mozaffarian, MD, MPH, an epidemiologist with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Mozaffarian analyzed medical records for 4,775 adults over age 65, all without heart disease at the study's beginning. He also got diet information on each, including whether they ate fish and how it was fixed and then looked at their medical records 12 years later.

There were 626 strokes among these elderly people but those who ate more tuna and other fish had fewer of them.

Compared to people eating fish less than once a month:

  • Those who ate tuna and other non-fried fish one to four times a week had a 27% lower risk of stroke. Those eating fish five or more times per week had 30% less stroke risk.

  • Those eating fried fish and fish sandwiches had higher stroke risk - 44% higher risk if they ate it more than once a week.

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