Eating more of some dietary fats can fight heart disease

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Choosing better sources of fat can go a long way toward preventing heart disease, according to research recently presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention — Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018.

The research team analyzed data from 63,412 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and 29,966 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Both studies used detailed food-frequency questionnaires administered every four years to evaluate the participants’ diets. During an average 22 years of follow-up, there were 20,672 deaths among participants — 4,588 of them from heart disease.

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The researchers found that people with a higher intake of monounsaturated fats from plants — such as olive and other vegetable oils, avocados, and nuts and seeds — had a 16% lower risk of death from any cause compared with those with lower intakes. They also discovered that replacing monounsaturated fats from animal sources (like full-fat dairy products, eggs, poultry, red meats, and fish) with an equal amount from plants might lower the risk of heart disease deaths by about 25%.

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