Heart disease in all its various forms is the number one killer in the U.S. with more than 600,000 deaths per year. That’s about 10% more than are killed by cancer and almost 10 times more than succumb to diabetes. To combat this epidemic, the medical community is doing all they can to educate the public about lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce the risk of heart disease. One of the most frequent warnings is to reduce the amount of fat in your diet.
But not all fats are the same. One class of fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, may very well have definite benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids have only been studied for a few decades and not all is known about how they act in the body. But research strongly suggests that including them in your diet will help reduce the risk of heart disease. Other studies indicate other benefits such as relieving the symptoms of depression and arthritis.
In nature, omega-3 is derived from several different sources. The most well known is probably fish like Salmon and Tuna. These omega-3s, DHA and EPA, seem to have the most beneficial effects on health. Yet another type of omega-3 is known as ALA and is found in botanicals such as Chia seed, nuts, flax seed, and greens with dark leaves like spinach. When the omega-3 is eaten from one of these sources, the body will convert some of the ALA omega-3 into both EPA and DHL. Plus, the ALA has its own health benefits. The human body cannot manufacture omega-3 on its own so it must be obtained through our diet.
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