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We know our heart health is important, and that there are various ways to take care of our hearts. To aid in preventing heart disease, or slow the progression of heart disease, one way to care for our hearts is by taking Omega-3 fats.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that are commonly found in oily fish, such as salmon, flaxseed, and canola oils. We need these fats to build brain cells, keep our hearts healthy, and improve our heart health if we already have heart disease.
Your body does not make Omega-3 fatty acids on its own. You need to get them from your diet. Certain types of fish, like salmon, are the best sources of Omega-3s. However, if you cannot eat fish, you can also get Omega-3s from plant based foods or supplements as well.
But, how exactly are Omega-3s good for your heart and blood vessels?
Well, Omega-3s reduce triglycerides, which is a type of fat that is in your blood. They reduce the risk of developing an irregular heart beat, also known as arrhythmias. They slow the buildup of plaque in your arteries, and they also help to slightly lower your blood pressure.
While health experts are still discovering all the possible benefits of these healthy fats, they have discovered that Omega-3 fatty acids may also help with cancer, depression, inflammation, and ADHD.
How Much Can You Eat?
The American Heart Association recommends eating at least 2 servings a week of fish that is rich in Omega-3s. A serving is 3.5 ounces, or 100 grams, which is slightly bigger than a checkbook. Oily fish that are rich in Omega-3s are:
Some fish though, can be tainted with mercury and other chemicals. Eating tainted fish can pose health risks for young children and pregnant women. If you are concerned about mercury, you can reduce your risk of exposure by eating a variety of fish.
Pregnant women and children should avoid fish with high levels of mercury, such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish. If you are middle aged or older, the benefits of eating any fish outweigh any of the risks.
Other Sources of Omega-3s
Oily fish, such as salmon and tuna, contain 2 types of Omega-3s. These are called EPA and DHA. Both have direct benefits for your heart.
There is another type of Omega-3, ALA, that is found in some oils, nuts, and plants. ALA benefits your heart, but not as directly as EPA and DHA. Still, eating nuts, seeds, and healthy oils, in addition to fish can help you get a full range of these healthy fats.
Plant based sources of Omega-3s include:
Of all plant based foods, ground flaxseeds and flaxseed oil have the highest amount of ALA. You can eat ground flaxseed over granola or in smoothies. You can also include it in salad dressing as well.
Many health experts agree that the best way to reap the benefits of Omega-3 is from food. Whole foods contain many nutrients besides Omega-3s, and that fact alone makes it beneficial to your heart.
However, if you already have heart disease or high triglycerides, you may also benefit from consuming higher amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. It may be difficult to obtain enough Omega-3s through food.
Be sure to always check with your doctor or other qualified health care professional BEFORE taking any medication, supplements, or beginning a health care regimen.
To see a list of our heart health supplements, specifically Omega-3 supplements, visit our heart supplement section on our website, or call 1-888-687-4334 to speak with one of our customer service representatives.