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American Heart Association Science Advisory - Omega-6 Fatty Acids: Make Them a Part of Heart-Healthy Eating
Date:1/26/2009

Advisory highlights:

-- The American Heart Association recommends that people consume at least 5 percent to 10 percent of calories from omega-6 fatty acids.

-- It's recommended that the omega-6 comes from foods, not supplements.

-- Replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fatty acids may lower the risk for heart disease.

-- Higher intakes of omega-6 may improve insulin resistance, reduce diabetes risk and lower blood pressure.

DALLAS, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Omega-6 fatty acids - found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds - are a beneficial part of a heart-healthy eating plan, according to a science advisory published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The association recommends that people aim for at least 5 percent to 10 percent of calories from omega-6 fatty acids. Most Americans actually get enough of these oils in the foods they are currently eating, such as nuts, cooking oils and salad dressings, the advisory reports. Recommended daily servings of omega-6 depend on physical activity level, age and gender, but range from 12 to 22 grams per day.

Omega-6, and the similarly-named omega-3 fatty acids (found in fattier fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon), are called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and can have health benefits when consumed in the recommended amounts, especially when used to replace saturated fats or trans fats in the diet. Omega-6 and omega-3 PUFA play a crucial role in heart and brain function and in normal growth and development. PUFA are "essential" fats that your body needs but can't produce, so you must get them from food.

"Of course, as with any news about a single nutrient, it's important to remember to focus on an overall healthy dietary pattern - one nutrient or one type of food isn't a cure-all," said William Harris, Ph.D., lead author of the advisory
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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