When it comes to eating a good diet, it's not uncommon for fats to have a bad reputation. However, experts have already clarified that not all fats are bad.
Now, researchers are also showing that getting a regular dose of healthy fats from fish and vegetables can aid in helping adults live longer.
According to a study published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, 60-year-old men and women with high levels of polyunsaturated fats, the healthy fats, in their blood were dramatically less likely to succumb to heart disease or any other cause of death for more than 15 years compared to their counterparts with low levels of polyunsaturated fats in their systems.
Ulf Riserus, the study's senior author, and colleagues worked with over 4,000 men and women who were 60 years old. Their findings support dietary guidelines currently in place recommending that oils from fish and vegetables be regularly consumed as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Healthy fats are found in oily fish like salmon, herring and trout, as well as in walnuts, olives and avocados. Liquid vegetable oil is also a good source, most especially when derived from sunflower, olive, canola, safflower, corn and soybean.
Right now, adults are advised to allocate no more than 20 to 35 percent of their calories every day to fats. Whatever fats they do eat must be of the healthy variety, leaving no more than 10 percent of calories taken from saturated fats. Consuming trans fats, on the other hand, must be avoided as much as possible.
More than just worrying about quantity, however, the researchers point out that the type of fat consumed has more bearing in affecting levels of fatty acids in the blood, as well as the kind of cardiovascular risk an individual has to deal with. For instance, two types of fatty acids found in fish, namely DHA and EPA, were linked to about 20 percent lower chances of death when consumed.
Although not involved in the study, Samantha Heller from the New York University said that the most important takeaway from the research Riserus and colleagues did was that eating more fish and vegetables can contribute to enjoying longevity. She added that there is no such thing as miracle food. Good health is a combination of eating right and engaging in regular physical activity.
Aside from Riserus, Matti Marklund, Mai-Lis Hellenius, Karin Leander, Ulf de Faire, Max Vikstrom, Tommy Cederholm, Federica Laguzzi, Per Sjogren and Bruna Gigante also contributed to the study.
Photo: Katherine Lim | Flickr