Data from previous studies suggests that foods with oils containing alpha-linolenic acid may prevent arrhythmias, which can lead to sudden cardiac death.
Researchers studied 76,763 women who had completed a food questionnaire in 1984. The questionnaire was updated every four years until 2000. Researchers then separated the women into five categories of ALA intake, ranging from .7 to 1.5 grams a day. ALA is found in a variety of leafy green vegetables, some types of nuts, canola oil, flaxseed oil, and flaxseed supplements. Some salad dressings and margarines also contain ALA.
Results showed women who consumed the most ALA were 21-percent less likely to die from coronary heart disease than women in the lowest ALA intake group. Thus researchers conclude that the higher a women's ALA intake, the greater the benefit. However, they say that further study is needed before making certain recommendations.