A study reported at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018 revealed a lower risk of dying from any cause during a 22-year average follow-up period among men and women who consumed greater amounts of plant-sourced monounsaturated fat such as that contained in olive and other vegetable oils, as well as avocados, nuts and seeds. In contrast, having a higher intake of monounsaturated fat from animal sources, including red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products, was associated with a greater risk of death during follow-up.
The study included 29,966 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and 63,412 women from the Nurses’ Health Study. Dietary questionnaires administered every four years provided information concerning the intake and source of monounsaturated fat.
Over the 22-year follow-up period, 20,672 deaths occurred, including 4,588 deaths from heart disease. Subjects whose intake of monounsaturated fatty acids from plants was categorized as high had a 16% lower risk of all-cause mortality in comparison with those whose intake was low. However, having a high intake of monounsaturated fat derived from animals was associated with a 21% greater risk of death during follow-up.
Research associate Marta Guasch-Ferré, PhD, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and colleagues suggest that the replacement of saturated fat, refined carbohydrates or trans fats with an equal number of calories from plant-sourced monounsaturated fatty acids might lower the risk of heart disease deaths and death from any cause by 10%-15%.
“Our results emphasize the importance of the source and quantity of monounsaturated fatty acids in the diet – we should eat more monounsaturated fatty acids from plant sources and less monounsaturated fatty acids from animal sources,” Dr Guasch-Ferré recommended.
Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.
Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.
Improves mood, memory, and focus.
Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.