Omega-3 fatty acids, or what's more commonly known as simply as omega-3s, are polyunsaturated fatty acids with a double bond that's approximately three atoms away from the terminal methyl group. Chemistry jargon aside, they are nutrients that occur naturally in plants and animals. While many people have touted the benefits of consuming omega-3s on a regular basis, a new study has linked the nutrient to improved heart health.
New Study Shows Heart Health Benefits for Omega-3s
To investigate the correlation between heart health and omega-3s, researchers from the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute conducted a study. The study involved 87 adults, all of whom were participating in the Institute's INSPIRE Registry. Researchers found that participants with high levels of omega-3s experienced fewer and less-severe heart-related problems than their counterparts with low levels of omega-3s.
"This study is important because we looked at how omega-3 helps patients who have already developed disease, and its effects on survival - both in getting to the first angiography to be diagnosed (vs. having a heart attack or worse before even knowing they have heart disease) and thereafter," said the study's lead researcher and author.
How Omega-3s Can Improve Your Hearth Health
You might be wondering how exactly omega-3s can improve your health. Well, omega-3s are a natural anti-inflammatory. When consumed, they'll work to reduce inflammation in your body. As the omega-3s enter your body, they'll lower inflammation.
Inflammation is a hallmark of heart disease. As inflammation builds up inside your body, it causes your blood pressure to rise while subsequently restricting blood flow. The combination of these effects means you'll have a greater risk of heart disease. Because omega-3s reduce inflammation, though, they may have a positive impact on your heart health.
You can find omega-3s in some of the following foods:
- Olive oil
- Chia seeds
It's important to note that there are also omega-6s. Unlike omega-3s, though, omega-6s don't have anti-inflammatory properties. They actually have pro-inflammatory properties, meaning they contribute to inflammation. If you're looking to improve your heart health, focus on increasing omega-3s and decreasing omega-6s in your diet. Along with regular exercise, this will help strengthen your heart and protect it from disease. Just remember to check the nutrition label on foods to determine how much omega-3s they contain.