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Heart Health Month: 8 Surprising Heart Facts We Learned Over The Last Year

The Huffington Post   Posted: 02/06/2012 8:13 am EST

Every February, organizations like the American Heart Association, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and the CDC team up for American Heart Month to remind us that heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States.

If you already exercise regularly, eat a nutritious diet full of heart-healthy foods and keep stress levels in check, you're on the right path toward a tip-top ticker. But there's always more research evolving to teach us more details about what keeps a heart healthy for life. Here's a look at some of the most surprising, uplifting and promising results that surfaced since the last American Heart Month.

Healthier Fried Food?
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Just last week, a large study published in the British Medical Journal found no link between eating fried foods and an increased risk of heart disease. However, (and this is a big however) the study was conducted in Spain, a country that lives and breathes by the Mediterranean diet, and predominantly fries foods in olive or sunflower oil.

The researchers caution that a similar study of the typical American diet, where foods are fried in re-used oils (which are higher in trans fats) isn't likely to produce the same results.

That's because Americans are still frying with butter, lard and shortening, says Malissa Wood, M.D., co-director of the Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of "Smart at Heart". Those fats, which are solid at room temperature, accelerate the clogging of arteries, she says.

Flickr photo by joyosity

For more on heart disease, click here.

For more on heart attack, click here.