Eating more of some dietary fats can fight heart disease

In the journals

dietary fats

Published: June, 2018

Choosing better sources of fat can go a long way toward preventing heart disease, according to research recently presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention — Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018.

The research team analyzed data from 63,412 women from the Nurses' Health Study and 29,966 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Both studies used detailed food-frequency questionnaires administered every four years to evaluate the participants' diets. During an average 22 years of follow-up, there were 20,672 deaths among participants — 4,588 of them from heart disease.

The researchers found that people with a higher intake of monounsaturated fats from plants — such as olive and other vegetable oils, avocados, and nuts and seeds — had a 16% lower risk of death from any cause compared with those with lower intakes. They also discovered that replacing monounsaturated fats from animal sources (like full-fat dairy products, eggs, poultry, red meats, and fish) with an equal amount from plants might lower the risk of heart disease deaths by about 25%.

Image: © kerdkanno | GettyImages

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.