For a Heart-Healthy Diet, Eat More Fat

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition, Nutrients and Additives
Last Reviewed 06/14/2014

Fish oil is a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids.We often hear about the fats we shouldn’t eat, like fried greasy foods. But what still gets little press is the fact that the majority of Americans are getting far too little of another vital fat that you need in a heart-healthy diet—omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Omega-3 Benefits Include:

  • Promoting normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels,
  • Keeping blood pressure levels in the normal range,
  • Supporting arterial health by promoting proper blood vessel dilation. 

Omega-3s also help to keep your mind and vision sharp, your joints healthy, and your skin soft and supple.

Yet, Getting Omega-3s in Your Heart-Healthy Diet Can Be Tough

Some of the best food sources of omega-3s to include in a heart-healthy diet are flaxseed, hemp, and pumpkin seed oils, as well as dark leafy green vegetables. But the source I prefer above all others in a heart-healthy diet is fish, especially cold-water fish like wild salmon and mackerel. 

Plus, another popular way to get omega-3 benefits is by taking fish oil or other marine animal (krill or squid) supplements, which can be found at health food and grocery stores. However, be selective when shopping. Because our ocean waters are getting more polluted, fish can be contaminated with heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Plus, large factory ships that catch the fish don’t always do a very good job of processing it right away, which means oils can oxidize before they’re put into capsules.

For the best omega-3 benefits, look for a marine oil product that can guarantee freshness, preferably one that includes antioxidants such as rosemary extract and vitamin E to ensure stability and freshness. Also, choose a supplement that delivers at least 150 mg of the EFA eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 350 mg of the EFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Now it’s your turn: How do you get omega-3s in your heart-healthy diet?

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