Omega 3 Nutrition – Good for the Heart

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It was just a few decades ago when medical researchers discovered the benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Based on a study of the Alaskan Inuits, scientists realized the reason why these people had a low occurrence of Heart Disease and high Cholesterol despite consuming large amount of fatty fish was due to the presence of these Omega 3 Fatty Acids in the fish.

Main Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

These Omega 3 Fatty Acids are part of the polyunsaturated fatty acid group which help increase the “good″ Cholesterol levels in the blood while lowering your triglycerides. Many studies have also shown that these omegas lower hypertensive blood pressure readings as well as serve as an agent to prevent blood clots, a problem in Heart Disease and stroke patients.

The latest information about Omega 3 Fatty Acids show they can also delay or even lower your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This disease often shows a build-up of a certain Protein in the brain and the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, particularly one called DHA, keeps those Protein levels low. Researchers are working harder than ever to discover what other benefits these omegas have on your health.

Where to Get Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Before finding out what foods you can find these Omega 3 Fatty Acids in, you should know there are three main types of them – DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). These omegas can be derived from both plants and fish or other seafood. However, do you know which ones are better?

It is important to note that your body will convert any ALA omegas derived from your food into the DHA and EPA forms as they are easier for the body to absorb. Many plants which contain Omega 3 Fatty Acids often have the ALA which the body must worker harder on to convert to a more palatable form.

Nuts, leafy dark green vegetables, Flaxseed and vegetable oils are examples of the ALA form of the Omega 3 fatty acid. Your best source of the ALA and EPA versions come from seafood, particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna and salmon.

There are Supplements you can take if you cannot eat seafood which contains the heart health omegas you need. Fish Oil is readily available and common in supplement form. Men, however, should avoid Flaxseed oil pills as there may be some ties in to a higher incidence of prostate cancer.

Cod liver oil, while having some Omega 3 Fatty Acids, should also be avoided because it can turn toxic for your body if you accidentally take too much due to its high content of Vitamins A & D.

The bottom line is that Omega 3 Fatty Acids from seafood are much better for you and your overall health because your body does not have to work as hard converting those ALA forms found in plant-based foods.

However, do not slack off those leafy vegetables, nuts, soy and other Omega 3 fortified foods because they have many other healthy attributes your body needs.


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8 Responses to “Omega 3 Nutrition – Good for the Heart”

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  8. Hi Dr. Dee,

    You’re correct… the benefits that Omega-3 Fatty Acids provide are best when we’re eating fish, particularly fatty fish from deep waters.

    The advantage of eating fish from deep water: less chance of Toxins, such as mercury.

    Good fish to eat for maximum Omega-3 benefits include wild salmon, herring, sardines and anchovies.

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