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Can French Fries Save Your Life?

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Those Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods you've been adding to your diet to keep your heart healthy just might be making you more likely to develop an aggressive and very deadly form of prostate cancer. That's the conclusion from a recent study reported by ScienceDaily.com.

Analyzing data from a nationwide study involving more than 3,400 men, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that men with the highest blood percentages of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, an inflammation-lowering omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fatty fish, have two-and-a-half-times the risk of developing aggressive, high-grade prostate cancer compared to men with the lowest DHA levels.

But wait, there's more strange news in this story.

According to the medical study, it is just possible that the bad effects of the Omega-3s might be negated by consuming fried foods loaded with trans-fats. The same fried foods normally associated with heart disease.

So, french fries might be the antidote?  The statistics give some encouraging news to those of us who enjoy french fries and trans fat laden foods.

The ScienceDaily.com story continued;

Conversely, the study also found that men with the highest blood ratios of trans-fatty acids -- which are linked to inflammation and heart disease and abundant in processed foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils -- had a 50 percent reduction in the risk of high-grade prostate cancer. In addition, neither of these fats was associated with the risk of low-grade prostate cancer risk. The researchers also found that omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in most vegetable oils and are linked to inflammation and heart disease, were not associated with prostate cancer risk. They also found that none of the fats were associated with the risk of low-grade prostate cancer.

For men, this could be the worst possible game of 'Would you rather...?'

Would you rather have heart disease or prostate cancer?

The correct answer is NEITHER.  Both diseases are common in men of a certain age. And both come with significant post diagnosis baggage that should inspire most of us to do all that we can to avoid them.

Perhaps the answer lies in a 'balanced diet."  And when I say balanced, I'm thinking for every serving of salmon, you also order those delicious but demonized, french fries.

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As a public service, we offer these statistics

Heart disease is still the #1 killer of men. The American Heart Association keeps pretty good stats on this topic;

Coronary heart disease caused 425,425 deaths in 2006 and is the single leading cause of death in America today.

In 2006, coronary heart disease death rates per 100,000 people were 176.3 for white males and 206.4 for black males

About a yard south of the heart is the prostate and news from that department is also kind of sobering. According to RadiologyInfo.com;

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in American men, most prevalent in men over age 65 and fairly common in men 50-64 years old.

Obviously, good health and early detection is vital in dealing with both of these diseases.

H/T to The Week magazine.

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