There are many health benefits of omega 3s to love. People who eat more omega 3s have lower rates of heart disease – researchers have known that since the 1970s. Since then, what has been uncovered is life changing. Could it change your life?
What are the health benefits of omega 3s?
There are many heart health benefits of omega 3s. Omega 3s improve inflammation, blood pressure and blood clotting, as well as lower triglyceride levels. Yet, not everyone is effected equally by increasing their omega 3 intake. For certain groups of the population, particularly those with lower intakes, their potential health benefits of omega 3s may be more significant. According to Harvard researchers, for each 1 gram of the omega 3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) an adult consumes, there is about a 7% reduced risk in major vascular events.
Which foods are high in omega 3s?
The type of omega 3 fat that is derived from plants, like nuts and seeds, is called α-linolenic acid (ALA). Other omega 3s called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in salmon, trout, sardines, herring, mackerel and some forms of algae.
What’s the best omega 3?
Not all omega 3s offer the heart the same benefit. Plant sources of omega 3s appear to have little effect on cardiovascular disease – it has been estimated by a study that plant omega 3s benefit only 1 in 1000 people. There is a large body of literature that has identified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as the omega 3s with the most heart health benefits. Population and clinical studies show EPA and DHA appear to offer more significant health benefits, including living healthier for longer.
Are there vegan sources of omega 3s?
Vegan sources of the omega-3 α-linolenic acid include walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and some beans. There are also some algae that are good sources of EPA and DHA.
Omega 3s and Heart Health
For heart health, EPA appears to be the best. In the Cardiovascular Healthy Study, which followed over 5000 older American adults for 22 years, results showed adults who had the highest amounts of EPA in their blood had a 24% lower risk of unhealthy ageing (major chronic diseases, cognitive or physical dysfunction).
Lower Triglycerides Naturally
Almost one-quarter of Americans have high triglycerides. High triglycerides are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. A review found that increasing the intake of omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) causes the amount of bad fat (triglycerides) to decline in the body. A healthy lifestyle, such as the Pritikin Eating Plan that includes omega 3s, is proven to help you lower your triglyceride levels naturally.
How much omega 3 should you take?
According to the American Heart Association, adults should consume up to 2 servings of fish (particularly fatty fish) per week. A serving of fish is about ¾ cup or 3.5 ounces. Here’s more if you’re wondering should you be taking fish oil supplement?
Heart Healthy Foods
One of the leading heart healthy diet plans is Pritikin. “We recommend a plant-based eating lifestyle, although we love our salmon for the wonderful omega 3 benefits,” remarks Kimberly Gomer, Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Center in Miami, Florida. The Pritikin Diet & Eating Plan encourages the consumption of lots of whole, plant-based foods, as well as sources of omega 3s such as salmon. “It also helps that salmon is a go-to option for restaurant eating – you can usually get salmon that hasn’t been loaded with a lot of salt, sugar or fat.”
The expert team of nutritionists and culinary masterminds at Pritikin have many omega 3 recipes to help inspire you at home, including Grilled Salmon with Watermelon and Fresh Mint Salsa, or Lemon Pepper Salmon with Citrus Multigrain Pilaf and Tropical Salsa. If you don’t enjoy cooking fish at home, you could try Pritikin Foods tasty frozen meals that can be conveniently shipped to your door, such as Mustard Salmon with Brown Rice & Green Beans.
Do omega 3s make you fat?
No. Increasing the consumption of omega 3 fatty acids does not cause an increase in body weight or body fat composition, according to a review of over 110,000 people. If weight loss is your goal, more than 100 studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals show the Pritikin Program of Diet and Exercise promotes weight loss, as well as prevents and, at times, reverses diabetes, metabolic syndrome and hypertension.
Get Your Heart Healthy Today!
Nutritious foods, including omega 3-rich foods, regular exercise and a positive mindset are the three pillars of the Pritikin Program. Pritikin is a lifestyle that has been proven to improve heart health. “At Pritikin we look at how food can help treat high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease and cholesterol, as well as diabetes and weight management,” explains Gomer. Come to the Pritikin Center and work with nutrition experts such as Kimberly, chefs who can teach you how to make omega 3-rich meals at home, physicians, exercise physiologists and more. Come get your heart healthy today.
- Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and healthy ageing. BMJ 2018;363.
- >Omega-3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Coch Sys Rev July 2018.
- Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: benefits and endpoints in sport. Nutrients Jan 2019; 11(1): 46.
- The clinical relevance of omega-3 fatty acids in the management of hypertriglyceridemia. Lipids Health Dis 2016 Jul 22;15(1).
- Association between triglyceride lowering and reduction of cardiovascular risk across lipid-lowering therapeutic classes. Circulation 2019 Sep 18.
- Marine n-3 fatty acids and prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. N Engl J Med 2019; 380:23-32.
- Blood docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in vegans: associations with age and gender and effects of an algal-derived omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Clin Nutr 2015 Apr: 34(2); 212-218.
- Effect of short-term Pritikin diet therapy on the metabolic syndrome. J Cardiometab Syndr 2006 Fall;1(5):308-12.