A new meta-analysis study shows that eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of death from heart attacks. Researchers from the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in California wanted to have a better understanding of how omega-3s affect heart health. The results and findings of this research were published in a recent issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 735,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack each year, with 525,000 of those being first-time heart attacks and the rest being subsequent heart attacks. A heart attack happens when part of the heart fails to receive an adequate amount of oxygen-rich blood. For the most part, heart attacks are preventable, and this recent study offers insight into one of those ways.
The idea of following a healthier lifestyle to help reduce the possibility of developing heart diseases is not new, but research continues to come in showing us just how important healthy living is. Many of those studies have indicated that adding omega-3 fatty acids to our diets is especially favorable when it comes to heart health.
Our body needs omega-3s to perform certain vital functions, including digestion, cell division and growth, blood clotting, and helping our muscles function optimally. But the body does not produce omega-3s on its own, so we have to get it through food. Foods highest in omega-3s are fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, anchovies, mussels, crabs, and sardines), and they contain an essential type of omega-3s called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is known to help brain function.
There are fewer vegetable sources of omega-3s, but walnuts and leafy vegetables do contain some; you’d have to eat a lot more of them, however, at least compared to fatty fish. Some vegetable oils are good sources of the omega-3 alpha linolenic acid (ALA). Other food sources of omega 3s include almonds, chia, flaxseed, cooked eggs, soy beverages, milk fortified with DHA, and sprouted raw radish seeds.
For this particular study, the research team reviewed the data from 19 studies that had a combined number of 45,637 test subjects from 16 countries, including the U.S. and the U.K. The team found that those who had a higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood from seafood and plant sources were 10 percent less likely to die from a heart attack compared to those who had lower levels.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Risk of Death from Heart Attack,” Medical News web site; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311239.php, last accessed June 29, 2016.
“Heart Attack,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site; http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/heart_attack.htm, last accessed June 29, 2016.
“Food Sources of Omega-3 Fats,” Dieticians of Canada web site; http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Fat/Food-Sources-of-Omega-3-Fats.aspx, last accessed June 29, 2016.