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EAT THE RIGHT POLYUNSATURATED FATS

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that North Americans and Europeans eat a diet that increases their chances of suffering heart attacks.

Polyunsaturated fats are classified by chemical structure as omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-6 fats increase swelling and clotting that cause heart attacks, strokes, arthritis and even may be important in affecting attention deficit disorder (1). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats reduce swelling and prevent these diseases.

Soybean and canola oils have a healthful ratio of omega-6s to 3s, but most North Americans and Europeans eat oils converted to cancer- and heart attack-causing partially hydrogenated oils that are used in most convenience foods. Our diet is also heavy in meat and milk, which contain omega-6s, causing our diet to have a 12 to 1 ratio of omega-6s to 3's, rather than the more healthful 2 to 1 found in a diet rich in unrefined plants. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in deep-water fish, shellfish, seeds such as flaxseeds, beans such as soybeans, unrefined grains such a wheat, and vegetables such as corn.

1)WE Connor. Importance of n-3 fatty acids in health and disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, Vol 71, Iss 1, Suppl. S, pp 171S-175S.

2) TAB Sanders. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food chain in Europe. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, Vol 71, Iss 1, Suppl. S, pp 176S-178S.

3) PM KrisEtherton, DS Taylor, S YuPoth, P Huth, K Moriarty, V Fishell, RL Hargrove, GX Zhao, TD Etherton. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food chain in the United States. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, Vol 71, Iss 1, Suppl. S, pp 179S-188S.

4) M Sugano, F Hirahara. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food chain in Japan. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, Vol 71, Iss 1, Suppl. S, pp 189S-196S

Checked 5/3/07

June 2nd, 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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