Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

No single food causes diseases and no single food prevents them. You 
may have read that you should eat olive oil because it contains 
monounsaturated fats that help to prevent heart attacks, but you can 
also get monounsaturated fats in peanuts, nuts, sunflower seeds and 
many other seeds. 

Cereals containing oats may claim that their soluble fiber lowers 
cholesterol, but you can get soluble fiber from many fruits and 
whole grains. You will raise your cholesterol if you take in more 
calories than you burn, no matter how much soluble fiber you eat. 

Deep water-fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that help to prevent 
heart attacks, but you can also get omega-3 fatty acids from 
soybeans, flax seeds, whole grains and other seeds. If you don't eat 
lots of fruits, vegetables whole grains and beans, you will increase 
your risk for a heart attack even if you eat fish oil or other 
sources of omega-3's.

It's your total intake of nutrients that counts. The best research 
on diet available today shows that if you want to prevent heart 
attacks and many cancers, you should eat a wide variety of fruits, 
vegetables, whole grains, beans and other seeds. You can't prevent 
heart attacks just by eating olive oil, fish oil, oat bran or any 
other specific food. You also won't cause a heart attack with a 
serving of butter, bacon, meat or pizza. 

Checked 5/3/07