No single food causes diseases and no single food prevents them. You may have read that you should eat olive oil because it contains monounsaturated fats that help to prevent heart attacks, but you can also get monounsaturated fats in peanuts, nuts, sunflower seeds and many other seeds.

Cereals containing oats may claim that their soluble fiber lowers cholesterol, but you can get soluble fiber from many fruits and whole grains. You will raise your cholesterol if you take in more calories than you burn, no matter how much soluble fiber you eat.

Deep water-fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that help to prevent heart attacks, but you can also get omega-3 fatty acids from soybeans, flax seeds, whole grains and other seeds. If you don't eat lots of fruits, vegetables whole grains and beans, you will increase your risk for a heart attack even if you eat fish oil or other sources of omega-3's.

It's your total intake of nutrients that counts. The best research on diet available today shows that if you want to prevent heart attacks and many cancers, you should eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other seeds. You can't prevent heart attacks just by eating olive oil, fish oil, oat bran or any other specific food. You also won't cause a heart attack with a serving of butter, bacon, meat or pizza.

Checked 5/3/07

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