Author: Dr. Quinte Naturopathic Centre on 21 January 2010
It is a well-known fact that heart disease and other serious heart conditions are among the major killers in North America. One contributor to these ailments is bad fats, whether we wear it or ingest it, and we often hear mostly about this rather than the good fats than can help keep our heart healthy.
Most North Americans’ diets are dangerously lacking in omega-3s (EPA and DHA), the most important good fat, found mainly but not exclusively in cold-water oily fish. Omega-3s are necessary for metabolism, among other things, and if our levels are too low, our bodies cannot operate properly. Eventually, this overloads our organs, including our heart, often resulting in heart attacks or sudden cardiac death.
In addition, an insufficient amount of omega-3s can contribute to mental illness, neurological disorders, premature birth, obesity, chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease, and even cancer. According to William Harris, director of metabolism and nutrition research at Sanford Research in Sioux Fall, SD, there is “no nutrient more important for decreasing risk of cardiovascular death—and more lacking—than omega-3. And its benefit to other organs is rapidly taking shape” (Healy, US News, 7 Aug. 2008).
While blood testing for omega-3 is possible, dietary targets are not only more convenient but also more affordable. Eating fish twice a week and following a Mediterranean diet in general, often including olive oil and other oils found in seeds and nuts, will help spread love to your heart and other organs, but supplementation is also possible in either liquid or capsule form. There are also options for vegetarians and vegans. Omega-3s can also be derived from plant sources like algae, as well as flaxseed, hempseed, and chia oil.
The Quinte Naturopathic Centre carries several different brands and doses of omega-3s. To find out which is best for you, based on dietary and symptomatic analysis, book an appointment with Dr. Durkin, our naturopath.
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