Monday, 24 March 2008

Oils with EFA reduce the risk of heart attack

March 24, 2008
By Syed Akbar
The very mention of cooking oil sends shivers down the spine of people who are “health conscious”. But health experts and researchers argue that not all the oils are bad. Oils that contain essential fatty acids are not only good for health but also prevent certain dreaded diseases including those related to heart.
A right blend of cooking oils, if consumed regularly, will keep at bay a variety of health complications and problems like diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke cancer and high blood pressure.
According to a study conducted by city-based research scholar UN Das of ICICI Centre for Technologies in Public Health, major health issues like coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease and depression schizophrenia can be controlled using oils containing essential fatty acids.
These essential fatty acids and their derivatives include eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, gamma-linolenic acid and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid.
“The major determinants of these chronic diseases are tobacco smoking, inadequate physical activity, unhealthy diets, overweight/obesity, and suboptimal levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, and plasma glucose.
Essential fatty acids are important constituents of all cell membranes and alter membrane fluidity and thus, determine and influence the behaviour of membrane-bound enzymes and receptors. EFAs are essential and they are not synthesised in the body. They have to be obtained in diet,” he says.
Essential fatty acids play a significant role in collagen vascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome X, psoriasis, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, depression, CHD, atherosclerosis, and cancer, he said adding that in all these conditions, plasma and tissue levels of fatty acids are significantly low compared to normal suggesting that EFA deficiency either predisposes or initiates the onset of these diseases.
The study pointed out that patients with AIDS and intravenous drug abusers have low plasma phospholipids DGLA, AA and DHA concentrations that could favour the onset and development of the dreaded disease.
Dietary intake of poly unsaturated fatty acids from infancy reduced the risk for type 1 diabetes. Increasing concentrations EFA/PUFA in breast milk reduced the risk of mother-to- child transmission of HIV.

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Syed Akbar in an island in river Godavari with Papikonda hills in the background

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Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity