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What we eat can heal or kill

Los Angeles Times - Fish oil, rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and derived from oily fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel -- is already recommended by the American Heart Assn. to help prevent cardiovascular disease. It has been shown to reduce blood triglyceride levels and slightly lower blood pressure, lowering the risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Perhaps a complete diet overhaul -- difficult though that may be -- would be a better strategy. The Mediterranean diet, named for the region in which it originated, has many anti-inflammatory features.

It includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, whole grains, alcohol, and healthful fats like olive and canola oil. It has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reduce the risk of blood clots. Studies have shown that diets high in fish, olive oil and cooked vegetables reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. A Mediterranean diet or elements of it seems linked to reduced risk for a number of chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's. (See related story online.)

"If people noticed they're slightly overweight, or if blood pressure is starting to creep up, or if blood sugar [increases], and they went on a Mediterranean-type diet, they might be able to decrease inflammation and stop the progression of disease," says Dr. Wadie Najm, a clinical professor of family medicine and geriatrics at UC Irvine who directs an integrated medicine clinic at UCI that focuses on complementary and alternative medicine. Read more.

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