Why Should I Care About Omega-3s In My Diet?

Omega-3 fatty acids appear to help with the reduction of risk of heart disease and may help fight inflammation, though more research is needed in that area.

They are essential fatty acids, meaning the body cannot produce them and has to get them through food sources to provide the body what it needs1. Marine sources (EPA/DHA) are found in oily fish and plant-based sources (ALA) are in flaxseeds and flax oil, canola oil and walnuts. Walnuts are the only nut that contain a significant source of ALA, at 2.5 grams per ounce.

Inflammation plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis. When eaten as part of a Mediterranean dietary pattern (a diet rich in fish, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, olive oil and nuts, legumes and beans) walnuts may lower risk of both heart disease and stroke. A recent study shows that, among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, including walnuts, reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.

1Fleming JA, Kris-Etherton PM. The Evidence for Alpha-Linolenic Acid and Cardiovascular Disease Benefits: Comparisons with Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid. Adv. Nutr. 2014; 5: 1-14.
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