Populations with diets high in omega-3 fatty acid shave a lower incidence of heart disease
Is fat good or bad? It’s a confusing issue, and the answer depends on the kind of fat in question. When consumed in excess, some fats can contribute to weight gain, heart disease and certain types of cancer. But other fats support good health. The trick is to know the good from the bad and integrate the good fats into your daily diet.
Lets start with the basics. Fat is an important part of our diet, and it does everything from producing energy to building brain tissue. But not all fats are created equal. Unhealthy fats include saturated fats and hydrogenated fats and oils (trans-fatty acids) and typically come from fast, fried, junk and processed foods.
Our bodies can actually make saturated fats from other types of dietary fats, so we don’t need to eat saturated fats to be healthy. In fact, it’s just the opposite: Saturated fats promote inflammation, damage the heart and blood vessels, contribute to obesity and increase the risk of certain types of cancer. From a wellness perspective, these fats are bad news.
Our bodies can’t produce the good fats, so we must get them from our diet.These fats are called essential fatty acids and commonly appear on food labels as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. You’ll find them in nuts and seeds, fish, vegetables and whole grains, and they deliver numerous benefits, from lowering cholesterol to reducing the risk of heart disease.
Omega-3s: The fat you’ve got to have
Omega-3 fatty acids are the most important of the good fats. These polyunsaturated fats are essential to heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the highest concentration in cold-water fish, which is why regional populations with diets that focus predominantly on fresh fish, vegetables and whole grains. For example, the Mediterranean diet are among the healthiest. Fat is an important part of our diet.
Evidence for the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is so strong that the American Heart Association says taking sufficient amounts of omega-3s daily appears to significantly reduce deaths from all causes, not just from heart disease. This is powerful stuff.
It’s easy to get more omega-3s in your diet. One way is to eat at least two servings of fatty fish salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines or albacore tunaper week. Fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. If you don’t eat that much fish, add a daily fish oil supplement to your nutritional routine. Find a triple-strength fish oil formula that delivers a combined 900 mg of EPA and DHA (types of omega-3s) per day. Its great insurance for your heart.