Is Artery-Clogging Fat a Myth?
Saturated fat in the foods we eat clogs our arteries and causes coronary heart disease—that's a well-known medical fact. Or is it? A team of renowned cardiologists recently challenged this thinking in a paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The controversial paper cites a number of studies that show no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease risk.
According to the authors, treating heart disease by "unclogging" the arteries—as a plumber would unclog a pipe—using a stent, for example, does not eliminate the risk for heart attack, stroke, or death from coronary artery disease. They suggest that, instead of focusing on lowering cholesterol, the goal should be to eat "real" food, exercise, and reduce stress to improve heart health.
The Mediterranean diet—which includes extra virgin olive oil and is high in vegetables, fish, and nuts—has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, lowering the risk for chronic conditions like heart disease. Regular physical activity—moderate exercise more than three times per week—also plays an important role, as does reducing stress. Chronic stress has been linked to inflammation that can damage blood vessels.
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