February is the month to celebrate your sweet heart — not the only the sweetheart that you give flowers and chocolates to on the 14th, but also that sweet heart beating inside your chest. February is National Heart Health Month, and it’s my favorite time to educate as many people as I can about ways to protect your heart.
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States? The good news is that following a heart-healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 80 percent. That's why I am focusing on the importance of omega-3s.
When I was growing up, I learned about three macro-nutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. But I was never told that there are different types of carbs, protein, and fat.
Well, there are. Omega-3 is a type of fat that supports brain health, joint health, immune health, skin health, and (you guessed it) heart health.
Three major ways omega-3s protect your heart are:
• Reducing triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat that circulates through your blood vessels. You need some to build brain cells and produce energy for your body, but high levels of triglycerides can harden your arteries, and increase your risk of heart disease and/or having a stroke or heart attack. Several studies have shown that consuming omega-3s can reduce your triglyceride levels by more than 20 percent.
• Slowing buildup of plaque in arteries. Plaque is a substance comprised of fat, cholesterol, and calcium, which hardens and blocks your arteries. This also increases the risk of heart disease and/or having a stroke or heart attack.
• Lowering blood pressure. High blood pressure puts a lot of strain on your arteries, and it can cause the coronary arteries serving the heart to narrow, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, or heart attack. A 2022 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that people who consumed about 3 grams of omega3s a day had lower blood pressure than those who did not.
One of the best sources of omega-3s is fish. The American Heart Association (AHA) states, “Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of — or who have — cardiovascular disease. Omega-3s can help improve your cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduce the plaque in your arteries”
The AHA recommends at least two servings of fish a week. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, and sardines are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids.
If you’re not keen on fish, you can also get omega-3s from walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and omega-3 enriched eggs.
I recently found another delicious way to get omega-3s: a smoothie called EO3 that has 1,600 mg from ultra-pure cod liver oil (but you can’t taste it). It also contains 20 grams of protein — right in the range that I recommend for each meal. It’s loaded with antioxidants too, which is great for overall health.
Consider adding omega-3s to your diet to protect their heart, especially if you already have a heart condition or have a family history of heart disease.
Contact Kelly’s Choice for online or in-person sessions to address your heart health or any health condition that you would like to address. We accept most insurance and are enthusiastic about improving our patients’ health and quality of life. We are real people promoting real food.
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