Omega-3 and Your Heart

Heart attack has been topping the killer disease chart list; it kills every minute. And on a related issue, in the US, 96, 000 deaths every year has been attributed to low intake of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, a heart condition related numbers.

So where does the line between omega-3 and heart condition meet?

Omega-3 DHA and EPA long chain fatty acids have been greatly attributed to strengthen heart health, fight cardiovascular disease and decrease the risk of heart attacks – research says.

Omega-3 Benefits

Omega-3 has always been related to heart health. According to studies, it may not only help ensure that your triglyceride is low; it can even maintain your blood pressure into normalcy.

Doctors say that eating one to two servings of fish in a week can reduce your chances of heart attack. This can be due to the unsaturated fats in the oily fish – the omega-3 fatty acids. This in return can lower cholesterol and can reduce inflammation in the system. Inflammation can result to blood vessel damage which may again lead to heart problems.

Omega-3 has also been known as the healthy fat that can reduce blood clotting, boost immunity, improve the learning ability of kids and help prevent dementia among older people. For summary, here’s a bulleted benefit of omega-3 for the heart:

    1. Reduce risk for arrhythmia wherein the heart rhythm is abnormal and can lead to cardiac arrest.
    2. Levels triglyceride in the blood
    3. Reduce the growth rate of plaque which can result to blood vessel clogging
    4. It lowers blood pressure
    5. Reduce formation of blood clots

The AHA or the America Heart Association recommends an amount of supplement that an adult may need. Healthy adults and those who have a history of heart problems may need different dosage. Meaning, those who are at risk due to genes or prior cardiovascular conditions may need to ingest more omega-3 in their diets for them to avail of its protective shield.

Those who have a heart disease, 1 gram a day of EPA and DHA are needed. For those who need triglyceride lowered, 2 to 4 grams a day is recommended. But then these should be consulted first with ones doctor. For kids, it is all the more that a doctor’s advice is needed before supplementation is satrted.

Some other vitamins that you may need to include in your diet if you’re at risk for heart diseases are plant sterols, policosanol, B complex, coenzyme Q10, red yeast and green tea.

Sources of Omeag-3

Although EPA and DHA are sourced from most marine produce, omega-3 can also be taken from plant sources such as flax seed and Chia seeds. At first, it may yield ALA or the other long chained fatty acids which if ingested will be converted into omega-3 fatty acids.

Fishes such as anchovies, tuna, mackerel, salmon and trout are best sources of omega-3. But then fishes should be eaten with caution since some may be exposed to several toxic wastes such as mercury and dioxins.

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If still unsure, you may look at the Eskimos diet. Eskimos diet contains very high amount of fat which in turn causes them to have a very low incident of heart disease compared to all other countries. And it’s same with Japan too; they have diet rich in fish.

But if fish seems inconvenient or unavailable, the Chia, flax seeds and plant option can help. But again if it’s not still available, then supplements will do. Fish oil is pretty common in the market but of course there is the right and good fish oil and the not so recommended one. Do your research first.

Image Credit: jcoterhals via Flickr.

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