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Heart Health and Essential Fats

By Chris Jensen, February 25, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Chris Jensen

  What fats are essential for heart health and how can we ensure high-quality, adequate intake?  Listen in to this encore podcast to hear about the critical role good fats play in a heart-healthy diet.

Dr. Hector Lopez is a board-certified specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, holds a Masters degree in Nutrition and is a member of the Nordic Naturals Advisory Board.

Experts believe hydrogenated fats increase the risk of heart disease, however there are healthy fats that support the heart:

  • Heart health is dependent on the balanced intake of essential fatty acids or EFAs as they are commonly referred to. These are considered “essential” as they MUST be consumed in the diet because the body cannot produce them on its own.
  • These fats are involved in a variety of molecular mechanisms that have a direct or indirect effect on heart health including: turning certain genes on/off that regulate fat and carbohydrate metabolism; supporting the body’s anti-inflammatory response, and even changing the actual characteristics of LDL cholesterol.

Incorporating essential fatty acids (EFAs) into our diets are critical for the heart and overall health:

  • The two EFAs in particular to focus on balancing are omega-6 EFAs and omega-3 EFAs.
  • The overabundance of omega-6 EFAs in the diet (examples include: refined vegetable oils, processed foods and non-pasture fed animal meats) and the widespread relative deficiency of omega-3 EFAs are contributing factors to many of the chronic health conditions facing the US.
  • Because sources of omega-6 EFAs are already so prominent in our daily diet, we should focus on reducing its intake in favor of omega-3 EFAs found in flaxseed oil, cold-water fish, walnuts and dark leafy greens for example.
  • Although a variety of plant-based oils, cold-water fish, greens and relatively lean, wild animal meats may provide a good base of essential fatty acids (EFAs), many Americans still fall short and supplementation is a great way to cover our bases.

While flaxseed oil and fish oil are both excellent sources of omega-3 EFAs, fish oil has some added benefits:

  • Fish oil contains omega-3 EFAs called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) that are immediately available to the body and appear to promote health across multiple organ systems from cardiovascular to the central nervous system, as well as metabolic, immune and joint health.
  • Even the American Heart Association has recommended over 1,000mg of EPA/DHA daily in patients with history of heart disease for cardiovascular benefits, which is almost 8x more than the average American consumes.
  • Supplementation offers a solution to the challenge of satisfying these amounts of EPA/DHA daily.

When choosing a fish oil supplement, it’s important to verify its quality and purity:

  • Choose fish oil supplements that have a high degree of purity and concentration from molecular distillation manufacturing processes.
  • Also look for third-party testing practices, which can help ensure high-quality oils.

Visit our Whole Body site to download this month’s featured Be Good to Your Whole Body pocket guide and more.

 

4 Comments

Comments

Aly says ...
Hi Chris - I work for a cardiac monitoring service here in Houston, TX. Heart health is so important and unfortunately we see a lot of people who are already experiencing arrhythmias and other issues. I think it is so essential to have heart health information available and to make living and eating healthy more convenient - and yall do just that! Keep the great information coming! Anyhow, thanks for sharing - Aly
02/28/2012 9:24:43 AM CST
Haval says ...
Let's not forget about Hemp, Chris.
02/29/2012 1:47:31 AM CST
Laura Cartledge says ...
Hi Chris, I read recently about a fruit so high in antioxidants, and that it also helps with arteries that are clogged to be unclogged. It's called Camu Camu, and I believe it comes from South America. Have you heard about this? If not, you may want to check it out. Thanks! Laura
02/29/2012 8:39:38 PM CST
Rosalind Waxman says ...
do you sell rice bran oil? do you sell a blend of sesame oil and rice bran oil?
09/26/2012 1:04:25 PM CDT