Fats beneficial for the heart?

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Fats beneficial for the heart?

Fats have always been considered the villain in the entire scheme of things, especially where heart diseases are concerned. However, recent clinical trials in patients with Chronic Heart Diseases suggest that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from fish and fish oil may actually prevent cardiac death and non-fatal heart attacks! Omega-3 fatty acids may in fact, be as effective as cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Omega-3 PUFAs are thought to prevent irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) and excessive blood clotting {which can obstruct blood flow in blood vessels (coronary arteries) that supply the heart}. Moreover, omega-3 PUFAs also decrease blood levels of triglycerides and increase the HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Omega-3 PUFAs may also enhance circulation and prevent fatty deposits in the arteries.

Fish are rich sources of omega-3 PUFAs (mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon and halibut). Vegetable sources of omega-3 PUFAs also exist, but the protective evidence is stronger from marine-source fatty acids. Plant sources of omega-3 PUFAs include some legumes (soy and other beans), nuts and seeds. Vegetable oils (e.g., canola, flaxseed, soybean) too are a significant source omega-3 PUFAs.

Those wishing to adjust their diets to include more PUFAs should substitute them for other fats, rather than merely adding more fat to the diet. Sources of fats that promote heart disease (i.e., saturated fats, trans-fatty acids) should be reduced. These include butter, whole milk products, red meat, pork, margarine, and some fast foods.

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