Heart disease is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. However, it can be easily headed off by consuming beneficial compounds such as fatty acids.
Large quantities of fatty acids can be found in fish oil. The most common ones are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which are both omega-3 fatty acids.
Researchers at Zhejiang University investigated how eating fish oil can affect mortality rates. In a scientific paper published in 2017, they reported that people with the greatest consumption of DHA and EPA displayed 14 percent lower chances of premature death.
They even came up with an easy formula that calculated the benefits of consuming a particular amount of fish oil on a daily basis. Every 200 milligrams of the oil reduced the chances of early death by seven percent. And the protection against sudden cardiac death could reach as high as 47 percent. (Related: Going deeper into fish oil: Looking at the other fatty acids.)
Omega-3 fatty acids assist the heart in many ways. It reduces the amount of plaque that could clog the bloodstream, increases the amount of good cholesterol, and lowers the concentration of bad cholesterol.
Based on these benefits, researchers believe that eating at least two servings of fish could reduce the chances of a stroke by half. The equivalent amount in fish oil could also accomplish this same protective effect.
Regular consumption of fish oil could also improve the recovery of a heart attack victim. An experiment administered high doses of the oil to heart attack survivors over the course of six months. The hearts of the supplemented participants healed better than untreated people. Furthermore, they showed decreased amounts of biomarkers associated with harmful inflammation.
This anti-inflammatory capability of omega-3 fatty acids plays an important role in its inhibition of diseases and extending lifespans. Chronic inflammation is considered to be a big factor in all kinds of cardiovascular diseases. It is linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and obesity.
Given omega-3 fatty acids can inhibit inflammation, as well as its complications. Likewise, good fatty acids can also head off the appearance of metabolic syndrome, which involves many of the same symptoms.
On the flip side, a lack of omega-3 fatty acids has been attributed to more than 96,000 deaths each year. If you feel tired, are having difficulty remembering things, find your skin has dried out, experience problems with your blood circulation or heart, and suffer from depression or moodiness, you may be deficient in these good fatty acids.
You can replenish your body's stock of DHA and EPA by eating certain cold water fishes such as mackerel and salmon at least twice a week. There is also krill, the same tiny but nutritious crustaceans that are eaten by huge baleen whales.
Remember to always get your food from organic and natural sources. Alternatively, you could also take fish oil supplements with at least 60 percent of the recommended daily intake of DHA and EPA.
Whatever method you choose to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, make sure it is free from any toxic mercury or pesticide. And if you plan to use supplements, first check with an integrative health expert if they are safe for you.