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An article in Lancet shows that eating extra omega-3 fatty acids helps to prevent a second heart attack (1).

Most people know that Omega-3 fatty acids are found in deep water fish and shell fish, but they are also found in many seeds such as flax and pumpkin seeds, nuts, whole wheat and other whole grains, soybeans and canola oil. Recently published research from Australia shows that giving people extra linseed (flaxseed) oil margarine reduces susceptibility to clotting and helps to prevent heart attacks (2). Another study from Harvard shows that women who take in extra omega-3 vegetable oils from canola oil-and-vinegar salad dressing have a much lower incidence of heart attacks (3).

More than 30 years ago, reports showed that Greenland Eskimos had a very low incidence of heart attacks. Researchers attributed their protection from heart attacks to the omega-3 fish oils that they ate. Many people today still think that you have to eat deep water fish to get these oils, but this is not true. You can get the oils from the germ found in many seeds. Since the germ is removed when these foods are converted to flour, you cannot get the essential omega-3 fatty acids from most bakery products and pastas. To prevent heart attacks, eat a diet rich in sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

1) GISSI Prevenzione Investigators. Dietary supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitmin E after myocardial infarction: results of the GISSI-Prevenzione trial. Lancet, 1999(August 7);354:447-455.

2)D Li, A Sinclair, A Wilson, S Nakkote, F Kelly, L Abedin, N Mann, A Turner. Effect of dietary alpha-linolenic acid on thrombotic risk factors in vegetarian men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999, Vol 69, Iss 5, pp 872-882.

3) FB Hu, MJ Stampfer, JAE Manson, EB Rimm, A Wolk, GA Colditz, CH Hennekens, WC Willett. Dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease among women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999, Vol 69, Iss 5, pp 890-897.

Checked 8/23/06

May 29th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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