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Eating more seeds and nuts may lower your risk of death from heart disease: study

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Tehran, Iran — The fatty acids in nuts, seeds and plant oils may help prevent early death, especially from heart disease, according to a team of international researchers.

The team looked at 41 studies published since 1991 to find links between the consumption of alpha-linolenic acid – an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid – and the risk of death from all causes. In all, the studies encompassed about 120,000 adult participants, up to the age of 98, who were followed between two and 32 years.

Findings show that higher levels of ALA consumption – about 1.6 grams (0.05 ounces) a day – was associated with a 10% lower risk of earlier death from all causes, an 11% lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease and an 8% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease when compared with the participants who consumed about 0.75 grams (0.03 ounces) of ALA a day.


However, higher ALA intake was also linked to an increased risk of death from cancer. The researchers hypothesize that the association “might be due to the existence of trans forms of ALA in certain foods.”

They add: “Additional studies might over time provide extra evidence to help determine the association more definitively and determine whether particular food sources of ALA have a differential impact on cancer mortality.”

The study was published online Oct. 14 in The BMJ, the journal of the British Medical Association.

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