|Substitution of dietary saturated fat by oleic acid and/or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) has been described to reduce the cardiovascular risk by reducing blood lipids, mainly cholesterol. Additional benefits have been described for long chain omega-3 PUFA (eicosapentaenoic acid-EPA and docosahexaenoic acid-DHA) from fish oils.
In recent years, food technology has been used to produce dairy drinks with a reduced content of saturated fat in favour of those fatty acids, most of them claiming cardiovascular benefits.
This review summarises all the scientific evidence regarding the effects of milks enriched with long chain omega-3 PUFA (EPA+DHA) and/or oleic acid on cardiovascular health. Nine controlled intervention studies with enriched milks have reported effects on healthy volunteers, subjects with increased risk factors and cardiovascular patients.
The main effects observed were reductions of blood lipids, mainly cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides.