With it being the season of love, hearts are on the mind right now! This makes for a good opportunity to consider how we are looking after the health of our hearts. It’s so important to look after your heart health and keep your ticker in the best possible condition. Maintaining a healthy cholesterol level by consuming food sources that are good for your heart is essential and omega-3 fats play an important role in keeping your heart healthy.
The Healthy Fats Essential for Good Heart Health
You’d be forgiven for immediately associating fats with being damaging for your heart, as eating too many saturated fats can negatively affect your heart health. However, as we're all starting to realise, not all fats are bad for you, and some fats are actually essential to have in your diet.
Omega-3 fats are a group of unsaturated fats that are essential for keeping your heart in good health. The main three types of omega-3 fats are:
- ALA (alpha linolenic acid) – found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) – found in oily fish such as salmon, sardines and anchovies.
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) - found in oily fish such as salmon, sardines and anchovies.
ALA is an essential fatty acid that we need but our bodies are incapable of making it, therefore we need to include it in our diets to keep our heart healthy. EPA & DHA are needed for heart health as well as blood circulation and although our bodies can make some of these fats from our intake of ALA, it is better to eat foods that directly contain them if you can to ensure we are getting enough.
Why are Omega-3 Fats Good for Your Heart?
There are a number of reasons why omega-3 fats can help keep your heart healthy. For starters, it has been found that people who have a diet rich in omega-3 are less likely to be at risk of heart disease than others. This can also be seen on a wider scale – in countries where people eat more oily fish, such as Japan, fewer people suffer from heart disease when compared to people from countries that don’t, including the UK.
Looking more specifically at how omega-3 fats benefit your heart health; ALA, EPA and DHA all play a key role in keeping your heart in top shape. ALA is essential for maintaining a healthy cholesterol level and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. EPA & DHA improve blood circulation around your body whilst lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of clots. EPA & DHA help to maintain the rhythm of your heart and keep it steady, making you less prone to any potential issues.
How to Get Omega-3 Fats in Your Diet
You can get the necessary amount of omega-3 fats into your diet from different food sources. ALA is usually found in plant-based food, and good sources of ALA include flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds. For getting EPA & DHA into your diet, the best method is to include meals containing oily fish. The best sources of EPA & DHA come from salmon, sardines and anchovies as well as other fish such as tuna and mackerel. It is recommended that you try to include two portions of fish per week in your diet in order to get the necessary amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
There are alternative options however, including taking omega-3 supplements such as Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend which contains omega-3, 6 and 9. Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend can provide you with the optimal dosage of omega-3 fats, head over to the product page for more information. It can be difficult to obtain some of the fatty acids that are mainly found in fish if you are a vegan, so supplements such as Udo’s Choice Ultimate Blend are a great alternative as the oil is entirely plant-based and unprocessed. Even if you are not vegan, taking supplements may be preferable due to the simplicity. Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend can be taken alongside normal meals and is available in capsule form or as an oil which can be poured onto and mixed in with meals.
If you think you might not be getting enough omega-3 fats in your diet, then do your increase your daily intake, whether that is through adjusting your diet or adding in omega-3 supplements. The heart is a vital organ after all, so it is essential we keep the ticker healthy and happy!