(Naturalhealth365) Fatty acids can sound like a ‘bad thing’ – especially to those taught that fat causes heart disease. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. How can I say that?! (Hint: research)
We know that the sugar industry is behind the false perception that fat is ‘evil.’ In fact, studies reveal that processed (simple) sugars cause more damage to the human body than good fats will ever do.
Don’t get me wrong: heart disease (and cancer) remains a very real threat – killing well over one million people – every year combined. But, premature death is a byproduct of too many people still being uninformed about the importance of getting good quality, fatty acids into their diet and the true dangers of processed food.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the world of fatty acids.
Fatty acids LOWER the risk of premature death by a substantial margin
In a 2017 review of studies published in Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers analyzed six different studies involving over 400,000 subjects to determine the effects of fish oil consumption on human mortality rates.
And, just in case you don’t know, fish oil is rich in fatty acids.
They found that the highest consumption of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (the active constituents from fish oil) was associated with a 14 percent reduction in the risk of dying from any cause – when compared to the lowest category of consumption.
And, researchers even determined a formula of decreasing risk associated with supplementation, noting that the odds of early death drop an additional 7 percent for each 200 mg of fish oil ingested per day.
In an additional review involving 900,000 participants, researchers found an 18 percent reduction in risk for any type of coronary heart disease-related event in those who took omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish oil seems particularly beneficial when it comes to protecting against death from cardiac events. In one study, supplementing reduced the risk of sudden cardiac death by an astounding 47 percent.
When you dive into the scientific literature – the list of studies highlighting the benefits of fat consumption are nearly endless. Unfortunately, doctors will never get educated on these topics – if they rely solely on medical journals that primarily get their funding from the pharmaceutical industry.
If you’re a healthcare provider, I hope you will get inspired with what you’re about to read.
Omega-3 fatty acids target heart disease on many different fronts
Omega-3 benefits the heart in a variety of ways, including lowering levels of fats in the blood, raising helpful HDL cholesterol and reducing dangerous LDL cholesterol. The key here is to emphasize the importance of eating ‘good quality’ (non-toxic) fats from reliable food producers.
For example, researchers report that eating at least two servings of fish – or getting comparable amounts of fish oil – per week can decrease stroke risk by 50 percent. Keep in mind, most of these studies do NOT focus on quality sources of food (or supplements) for their research.
Note: We, at NaturalHealth365, encourage you to focus on quality food sources – to avoid the consumption of environmental toxins associated with conventional farming practices.
In one study, fish oil was associated with better survival rates in heart attack victims, with researchers finding improved heart function and lower levels of inflammatory markers in people who took high-dose fish oil for six months after suffering a heart attack.
Omega-3s lower the risk of chronic inflammation and obesity
Another key to omega-3 fatty acids’ ability to prolong life and prevent disease is its strong anti-inflammatory capabilities. Too many people living in the ‘modern’ world eat a diet loaded with omega-6 fatty acids – which actually promotes cellular inflammation.
And, chronic (unaddressed) inflammation plays a significant role in the development of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity and neurodegenerative diseases.
There is also evidence that omega-3s can fight metabolic syndrome, a linked group of conditions that include high blood sugar, obesity, high blood pressure and elevated triglycerides.
Bottom line: we should focus on consuming a much healthier balance of omega-3 to omega 6 fatty acids in the diet.
Avoiding cancer cell growth by eating the right fats
Although more study is needed, existing research supports the ability of omega-3 fatty acids to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. In two separate studies, these nutrients were found to slow the development of colon cancer and inhibit the formation of breast cancer tumors.
In one encouraging study, omega-3 fatty acids, along with a probiotic formulation, helped to relieve chemotherapy side effects and reduce inflammation in patients with colorectal cancer.
In addition, higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with a healthier gut microbiome, the community of beneficial bacteria living in the intestinal tract. This in turn helps to boost the immune system and lower the risk of cancer cell growth.
Are you deficient in omega-3 fatty acids?
A shock to most people: Harvard researchers have reported that deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids claim over 96,000 lives a year. Symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, memory problems, dry skin, heart problems, poor circulation, mood swings or depression.
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, as well as in krill, a form of shrimplike plankton.
The American Heart Association recommends eating cold-water fish at least two times a week in order to obtain sufficient omega-3s. However, concerns over mercury exposure lead many to supplement with fish oil. Again, just be sure to obtain your supplements from a reliable source.
If you choose to go this route, look for certification that the product is free of heavy metals and pesticides. Experts recommend using fish oil that contains 60 to 85 percent of the EPA and DHA forms of omega-3.
Important note: before supplementing with fish oil, consult with a trusted, integrative physician – especially if you are taking blood-thinning medications or concerned about internal bleeding issues.
The takeaway is simple: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential and offer powerful anti-inflammatory, disease-fighting effects. Generally speaking, a higher consumption is associated with a lower risk of premature death.
So, do your own research. But, always take care of yourself with healthy food choices.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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