Friday, March 30, 2012

Why Fried Food Is Not Good For Older Women?

Every year, stroke affects nearly 800,000 people in the United States. It is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States.

A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is the loss of brain functions because the blood supply to the brain is disturbed. Both ischemia (lack of blood flow) caused by blockage or hemorrhage (leakage of blood) could cause a stroke.

In a paper published on March 1, 2012 in the ‘Annals of Neurology’, researchers from University of North Carolina found that older women who ate high amounts of transfer fats found in fried foods and baked goods were at a greater risk of stroke than women who ate less fatty diets.

Data was taken from a large study on eating habits of 87,025 post-menopausal women, who aged between 50 and 79. These women were generally in good health at the time of enrolment.

The findings showed that women who ate diets high in trans-fatty acids (6.1 grams a day) had a 39 percent higher risk of stroke due to a blocked artery than women who ate 2.2 grams of trans-fatty acids per day. However, researchers did not find any significant association between stroke risk and how much total fats women ate, or their level of dietary cholesterol. They also found that aspirin could help lower the risk of stroke among post-menopausal women.

While the availability and consumption of trans fat have declined in the United States as a result of banning by public health and legislation campaign for the use of trans fat in many fast food restaurants and in food preparation, trans fat has not completely disappeared.

Trans fat commonly occurs in foods because of partial hydrogenation, a food processing method in which a liquid vegetable oil is transformed into a solid fat. Trans fat can lower the good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, HDL) and raise the bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, LDL). This could in turn raise the likelihood of getting hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease and of course stroke.

As such, researchers suggested that older women should adopt a diet low in trans fat and should also take aspirin to help lower their risk of stroke, especially at the onset of menopause.

On the other hand, health experts not involving in the study argued that it is possible that women who ate a lot of trans fat were also unhealthy: the might have less physical activity, smoke and have higher level of diabetes. Therefore, they recommend these women should have a balanced diet avoiding trans fat and including healthy oils and daily physical activity. They believed this would help prevent stroke and other lifestyle related disease including heart disease and hypertension.

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