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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Lower Risk of Heart Disease

A recent report by Fox News spotlights the heart health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. This is hardly breaking news. The curative properties of healthy fats are well known. Still, it is important to reiterate the value of omega-3s and to work toward undoing the damage wrought by years of anti-fat propaganda.

Time and again, I have emphasized that omega-3 fats are essential to your overall health. And I am not alone — other health experts stress the same, and decades of research have been devoted to discovering the many health benefits of omega-3.

Omega-3 comes from both animal and plant sources. The primary animal sources are krill oil and fish oil. The primary plant sources are flaxseed, chia and hemp. They have become a multibillion-dollar business, with Americans spending about $2.6 billion on nutritional supplements and foods fortified with omega-3 fats.

Marine animals such as fish and krill provide eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are mostly promoted for their protective effects on your heart. Flaxseed, chia, hemp and a few other foods, on the other hand, offer alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).

For this reason, I recommend the animal-based variety. Most of the cellular health benefits linked to omega-3 fats are linked to the animal-based EPA and DHA, not the plant-based ALA. Plant based omega-3 fats are not inherently harmful, but simply do not provide the full range of benefits.

Healthy fats improve heart health and normalize triglyceride levels. Omega-3s also provide cognitive support. Low levels of DHA were linked with poorer reading and memory and behavioral problems in healthy school-age children.
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