3 WAYS TO FIGHT HEART DISEASE

There's more evidence that consuming omega-3 fatty acids is good for your heart. Researchers in Finland followed 285 men and 130 women with coronary heart disease. The volunteers' average age was 61.

As the study progressed, 36 participants died, 21 suffered heart attacks and 12 had strokes. But among all participants, those with the highest concentration of docosahexaenoic acid — an omega-3 — showed a 69 percent lower risk of death than people with the lowest levels.

Exactly how omega-3 fatty acids work is unclear. They may lower triglycerides in the blood, or they may make blood platelets less likely to clot.

Omega-3 sources include fatty fish, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, olive oil and dietary supplements.

The study was published in the July 2003 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

2 Soy with Isoflavones
A second study published in that same issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that "daily consumption of soy protein with isoflavones can result in positive vascular effects that are independent of lipid and antioxidant effects in healthy post-menopausal women."

Researchers asked 28 women to consume 25 grams of three different protein products for 6 weeks. The protein sources were soy with isoflavones; soy with small amounts of isoflavones; and milk, which had no isoflavones in it.

Soy with isoflavones significantly lowered brachial artery flow, which is related to blood pressure.

3 More Fiber
In a study of almost 10,000 people over 19 years, researchers found that dietary fiber, especially water-soluble fiber, reduced the risk of coronary heart disease.

Study participants who consumed an average of almost 21 grams of fiber per day were 12 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those with a low fiber intake.

What's more, fiber consumption has been linked to a reduction in colon cancer and cancer of the larynx.

The study was published in the September 8, 2003 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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