YOU can cut your risk of death from deadly heart disease with ingredients found in common kitchen cupboards, a study has found.
Alpha linolenic acid (ALA) – a omega 3 fatty acid – is known to be good for the heart.
And now a review by Tehran University of Medical Sciences has found that those who have a higher intake could avoid an early grave.
Published in the British Medical Journal, it found their risk of dying from any cause dropped by around 10 per cent if they had a high intake of ALA when compared to those who did not.
But the most impressive drop in mortality was from heart disease and problems with blood vessels, of eight and 11 per cent, respectively.
A higher ALA intake was associated with a slightly higher risk of death from cancer, but the researchers said further studies are now needed to confirm this.
Researchers said their findings showed that the more ALA people had, the more they could reduce their risk of early death.
It was claimed every 1g per day increase in ALA intake was associated with a five per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease death, which includes coronary heart disease, strokes, aortic disease and more.
It’s the equivalent to one tablespoon of rapeseed (canola) oil – a good source of ALA.
Rapeseed oil is commonly used for cooking and baking, or used in salad dressings and dips.
What is ALA?
So what foods contain ALA?
ALA is also found in:
- Oils like flaxseed and rapeseed
- Some animal fats
Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly important for the body, having an impact on heart, brain and eye health.
But most adults don’t think about striving to get enough of the stuff from their diet – the only source of omega-3.
Once in the body, ALA is converted into EPA and DHA, the two most important types of omega 3 fatty acids.
But humans are not very efficient at doing this, and so EPA and DHA have to be sourced from other foods, mostly oily fish like salmon.
Previous studies have shown that a high ALA intake is associated with a lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease.
But findings from other studies on ALA and risk of death have been inconclusive, which is why the researchers did the latest review.
It looked at 41 existing studies following people for two to 32 years, with 198,113 deaths from all causes recorded over the time period, 62,773 from cardiovascular disease and 65,954 from cancer.
Together, these studies involved around 120,000 people aged 18 to 98.
The studies tried to fully take account of factors such as age, weight, smoking status, alcohol intake and exercise habits – all of which would play a role in a person’s mortality.
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