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Why omega-6 oils are especially toxic to long-term vegetarians (HINT: eat more omega-3s)

Omega-6 oils

(NaturalNews) There are many benefits to a vegetarian diet, ranging from lowered heart disease risks to reducing the chances of getting high blood pressure or diabetes. In fact, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that, when compared a diet that included meat, vegetarian diets were associated with lowered death rates.

"I think this adds to the evidence showing the possible beneficial effect of vegetarian diets in the prevention of chronic diseases and the improvement of longevity," said lead author of that study, Dr. Michael Orlich.

However, a new study has come out indicating that there may be a drawback to a long-term vegetarian diet, at least when it involves omega-6 oils. Published online in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, the findings shed light on the fact that long-term vegetarianism may lead to genetic mutations that could increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. It's explained that such people are more likely to have a DNA marker associated with being prone to inflammation – a mutation called "rs66698963." This mutation is found in the FADS2 gene which regulates fatty acid production in the body.

The bottom line: Vegetarians should eat more omega-3s

In short, when coupled with a diet rich in vegetable oils, the mutated gene quickly turns fatty acids into a dangerous arachindonic acid, which is linked to the aforementioned health conditions. According to this study, people who have been eating a vegetarian diet for a long period of time are susceptible to this genetic mutation and are therefore more likely to experience inflammation.

"In such individuals, vegetable oils will be converted to the more pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid, increasing the risk for chronic inflammation that is implicated in the development of heart disease, and exacerbates cancer," says Tom Brenna, Professor of Human Nutrition at Cornell who helped author the study.

Therefore, the best bet for vegetarians is to incorporate more omega-3s in their diet. Examples of omega-3s include hemp seed, chia seed and flax seed, which are also associated with significantly reducing the risk of colorectal cancer risk in men and even lessening the effects of depression.

The study, titled, "Positive Selection on a Regulatory Insertion–Deletion Polymorphism in FADS2 Influences Apparent Endogenous Synthesis of Arachidonic Acid," states the following:

Substantial evidence has accumulated that this dramatic shift is a risk factor for lifestyle-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, cancer, and inflammation-related diseases. Most commercially produced seed oils, sunflower, safflower, peanut, grapeseed, cottonseed and corn, contain very high levels of n-6 LA; individuals with I/I genotype having higher metabolic capacity to convert precursors to longer chain PUFA may be at increased risk for proinflammatory disease states as they efficiently convert LA to ARA. Put another way, individuals with the I/I genotype may be vulnerable to ill-health when adopting a diet rich in n-6 LA which severely reduce synthesis of anti-inflammatory n-3 LCPUFA....

The many benefits of olive oil, essential in a vegetarian diet

"The message for vegetarians is simple. Use vegetable oils that are low in omega-6 linoleic acid such as olive oil," Dr. Brenna said.

Olive oil is beneficial to health on many fronts.

For example, the Mediterranean diet focuses on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables (and fish, for non-vegetarians), but also places a great deal of emphasis on olive oil. No wonder this particular diet has been found to slow cellular aging, leading to a decreased risk of developing stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure. Longevity and the Mediterranean diet go hand in hand, so turn to more olive oil to reap the benefits.

Additionally, olive oil is considered a breast cancer fighter because it's been found to slow breast tumor tissue growth. Cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil is best, as it can help with achieving weight loss and even keeping allergies at bay.

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