Fighting Heart Disease with Omega-3s
Heart disease continues to be one of the leading causes of death in America. Eating well, exercising regularly, and maintaining body weight are all part of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
A diet rich in the polyunsaturated fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6 is vital for good health. Both are essential and must be obtained through food. Omega 6 fatty acids are plentiful in our Western grain based diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are a little harder to include because they are only found in fish and a handful of plant-based sources.
The Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Seeking and consuming Omega 3 rich foods is worth the effort because of the heart-healthy benefits, such as:
- Decreased triglycerides
- Lower blood pressure
- Decreased risk of heart disease
- Decreased risk of stroke
- Decreased risk of sudden cardiac death
Where to Get Your Omega-3s
The American Heart Association recommends eating 3.5 ounce cooked (¾ cup of flaked) fatty fish at least twice per week. Salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna are excellent sources.
Plant-based omega-3s are found in walnuts, flaxseeds, chia-seeds, brussel sprouts, algal oil, hemp, soybeans and tofu.
According to the AHA, “Increasing omega-3 fatty acid consumption through foods is preferable over supplementation. However, those with coronary artery disease may not get enough omega-3 by diet alone. These people may want to talk to their doctor about supplements. And for those with high triglycerides, even larger doses could help.”
Fatty acids are essential to a healthy diet. Actively seeking and consuming omega-3 rich foods is a preventative step in maintaining a healthy heart.
American Heart Association. (n.d.). Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Retrieved May 23, 2019, www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/fish-and-omega-3-fatty-acids.
Kris-Etherton, P. M., Harris, W. S., & Appel, L. J. (2003, February 1). Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease. Retrieved May 23, 2019, from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.ATV.0000057393.97337.AE
Link, R. (2017, July 17). The 7 Best Plant Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Retrieved May 23, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-plant-sources-of-omega-3s
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Current State of the Evidence. (2017, July 25). Retrieved May 23, 2019, from https://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/topics/fatty-acids-cardiovascular-disease/clinician
Riediger ND, Othman RA., Suh M, et al (2009). A systematic review of the roles of n-3 fatty acids in health and disease. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109, 668-679.
Information presented by W(h)ealth should not be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Consult a doctor and/or medical professional before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.