In a nutshell, omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat that plays a role in reducing inflammation and preventing heart disease.
You’ll find them in fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, but you can also get them from vegetable sources like flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. However, the plant-based forms of omega-3s don’t contain DHA or EPA forms of the fatty acid — two types that seem to be associated with health benefits.
So how exactly can omega-3s improve your heart health? Here are three ways they can help:
- They lower blood pressure: A recent study showed that eating fish one to three times per week reduced the risk of high blood pressure by almost 25 percent. This is important because high blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease.
- They raise HDL cholesterol: HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol. It helps remove plaque buildup in the arteries and carries it to the liver where it gets excreted as waste. Omega-3 consumption has been shown to increase HDL levels.
- You’ll reduce inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s natural way to heal and protect itself from infection and injury. But chronic inflammation is actually bad for your heart and can lead to clogged arteries, high blood pressure and plaque buildup in your arteries. Omega-3s can help reduce chronic inflammation because they play a role in helping produce chemicals that regulate the immune system.
Not sure how to get more omega-3s? Here are some delicious, healthy ways to add them to your diet:
- Fish: Salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and trout all provide an excellent source of omega-3 fats. Try to eat at least two seafood meals per week. If you don’t like seafood, talk to your doctor about taking an omega-3 supplement.
- Nuts and Seeds: Walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds are particularly high in omega-3s. You can also find smaller amounts in hemp seeds and edamame.
Tiesha loves to share her passion for everything that’s beautiful in this world. Apart from writing on her beauty blog and running her own beauty channel on Youtube, she also enjoys traveling and photography. Tiesha covers various stories on the website.