Natural Fatty Acids to Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Fresh Salmon Fillets

If you haven't been hiding under a rock, then you have probably heard the recent surge of interest in including omega-3 fatty acids in your daily diet. These essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body but are integral for overall health, particularly for the heart. While the body requires two fatty acids (omega-3's and omega-6's), omega-3's have been found to be integral in lowering blood pressure, preventing or controlling coronary heart disease, lowering trigylcerides, and decreasing the growth of atherosclerotic plaque.

The American Heart Association stands behind fish as an excellent source of these advantageous fatty acids, especially since fish is low in saturated fat while still providing nutritious protein. The AHA has long since recommended that Americans eat at least two 3oz. servings of fish per week, with the best sources of omega-3's coming from salmon, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines, and lake trout. Nonetheless, those wishing to gain the benefits of fatty acids in fish should use caution. Some fish - those that are older, larger, and predatory - have high mercury content which can be potentially dangerous to children and pregnant women. Fish with the lowest mercury exposure tend to include salmon, catfish, pollock, and shrimp.

Still, if you have coronary artery disease or are at risk of other cardiovascular disease, you may need to supplement the omega-3's received from your diet with additional capsules. The essential fatty acids received from diet alone may not be sufficient in controlling or preventing these conditions. Speak to your physician or dietician for a thorough assessment of your risk and medical history before starting a supplement regimen.


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