Adults Can Increase Life Expectancy By Eating Good Fats

Findings from a Swedish study have suggested that Adults who eat lots of fish and vegetable will live longer than those who don’t.The study showed that over four thousand men and women who were aged 60 and above, who had the highest blood levels of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), gained from eating fish and plants, were, in comparison, less likely to die from heart disease or any cause over about 15 years than those with the lowest levels.

The current dietary guidelines advise having sufficient intake of both fish and vegetable oils in a heart-healthy diet.

Senior study author Dr. Ulf Riserus, a nutrition researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden stated that the study supports the fact that, Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the “good” kind that can promote healthy cholesterol levels, especially when used in place of saturated and trans fats, the “bad” kind.

These good fats are found in fish such as salmon, trout and herring, as well as in avocados, olives, walnuts and liquid vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, safflower, canola, olive and sunflower.

It is advised by the current dietary guidelines that adults should not be getting more than 20 to 35% of their daily calorie intake from fats, and that most of this should be gained from good fats, with no more than 10 percent from saturated fats and as little trans fat as possible.

The type of fat consumed is proving more important than the quantity of fat, in affecting the fatty acids circulating in the blood stream as well as cardiovascular risk.

Riserus and colleagues, in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, tested for levels of different types of fats in 2,193 Swedish women and 2,039 men, then followed half of the participants for at least 14.5 years.

The study statistics noted that 265 men and 191 women died. In addition, 294 men and 190 women had cardiovascular events such as heart attacks
In Men, 27% reduction in the likelihood of death, was attributed to higher circulating levels of one of the fatty acids found in vegetable oils, known as linoleic acid (LA),but the same was not the case for women.

Two fatty acids found in fish, EPA and DHA, were linked with roughly 20 percent lower odds of death, in both men and women.

Researches acknowledged the fact that the limited number of deaths from cardiovascular disease make it difficult to draw conclusions on the impact of fats, particularly when examined in men and women separately, also that the blood test for fats was only done a single time.

Women with the highest levels of ALA had 72 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared to women with the lowest levels, stated the researchers, but since that result isn’t in line with other studies, they speculate it doesn’t mean ALA increases heart risk, rather it could reflect high consumption of margarine, low muscle mass, or other health conditions, they write.

Dr. Edmond Kabagambe, an epidemiology researcher at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine who wasn’t involved in the study, stated that, “It is not so clear why there were differences between men and women but it could simply be due to sample size differences and the differences in baseline risk for men and women,”

Samantha Heller, a nutritionist at New York University’s Center for Musculoskeletal Care and Sports Performance who wasn’t involved in the study, said that it is the message for all of us is what we all know, eat more plants and fewer animals.

“There is no one miracle food that will launch us into immortality,” Heller said. “The lifestyle as a whole must be considered, including daily physical activity and eating less (of) animal foods like meat, cheese and butter. It is easiest to encourage people to eat a variety of plant foods such as salads, trail mix, roasted vegetables, pasta primavera, almond butter and banana sandwiches, lentil soup, or edamame hummus.” —Reuters

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