Do you affraid of coronary heart disease (CHD)? CHD is the leading cause of death in the world . However , there is good news for you . Eighty percent of coronary heart disease and stroke can be prevented . You can protect yourself by 7 simple steps, such as get active , control cholesterol , manage blood pressure, lose weight , reduce blood sugar, stop smoking , and eat heart-healthy diet . Eat at least two servings of fish a week can protect you from the risk of heart attack . Fish is a good source of protein and omega 3. Omega 3 is beneficial in maintaining a healthy heart , both for healthy people , and for people who have a high risk of coronary heart disease or even already have .
Omega 3 is an unsaturated fatty acid which is abundant in seafood , as well as some nuts and certain vegetable oils . Omega 3 are classified as essential fatty acid that the body needs this can’t produce so it can only be obtained through food . Omega 3 has several forms including EPA ( Eicosapentaenoic acid) , DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) , and ALA ( Alpha Linolenic Acid ) . Fish and fish oil contains EPA and DHA , while ALA derived from plant-based foods such as soybeans , canola , walnuts and flaxseed . EPA and DHA have a more potent benefits than ALA . The body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA , but the process is not effective .
Is there any scientific evidence regarding the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids ?
Observational and epidemiological studies
The observational study involving more than 80,000 women who were followed for 16 years , showed an association between fish and omega 3 consumption with risk of coronary heart disease . Women who ate fish at least once a week had a risk of coronary heart disease 29 % lower than women who consumed fish < 1 time per month . Risk reduction is most seen in women who consumed fish more than 5 times a week . The risk of coronary heart disease decreased by 34 % . In fact , the risk of sudden death from heart disease decreased by 45 %. 
Other studies involving more than 20,000 healthy men followed for 11 years also showed the benefits of fish consumption . Men who consumed at least one serving of fish per week had a 50 % lower risk for developing sudden death from heart disease than those who ate fish less than 1 serving per month . 
Controlled Trial is a prospective study that included research subjects who were randomized into two groups , treatment group and the control group . Subjects in the treatment group are given the medication (or diet) being tested, while the subjects in the control group are usually given an inert substance (placebo) for comparison . Several Randomized Controlled Trials suggest the role of omega-3 fatty acids in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease .  The largest study examining the efficacy of omega- 3 fatty acids for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease is the GISSI – Prevention Study . The study involved more than 11,000 patients with coronary heart disease who are undergoing treatment . Subjects are randomly entered into four treament groups : omega-3 fatty acids (850 mg capsule daily), vitamin E, both, or neither (control) . Having followed for 3.5 years , the group receiving omega- 3 fatty acids had a 20 % lower death rate than the control group , while vitamin E showed no benefit . 
How Omega 3 Can Protect You from Risk of Cardiovascular Disease ?
Research to date suggest that omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease through several mechanisms :
1 . Lower the risk of heart rhythm disorder that can cause sudden death
2 . Lower the risk of formation of blood clot which can cause heart attacks and strokes
3 . Lower triglyceride levels
4 . Inhibit progression of atherosclerotic plaque
5 . Improve vascular endothelial function
6 . Lowers blood pressure
How much omega 3 should you consume ?
For those who do not have heart disease , the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week . Fatty fish like salmon , mackerel , herring , sardines , and tuna are abundant in omega 3 fatty acids .
For those who have coronary heart disease , the AHA advised to consume 1 gram of EPA and DHA combination which is better obtained from a diet rich in omega 3 such as fish . However , if the consumption of omega- 3 fatty acids from food is not enough , the addition of omega 3 supplements could be considered in consultation with a physician .
The combination of EPA and DHA is also beneficial for those who need to lower triglyceride levels . You can consume 2 to 4 grams of combined EPA and DHA supplement in capsule form but must be under a physician’s care. Consumption of omega 3 capsules over 3 grams per day may cause bleeding in some people . In addition to bleeding , side effects that may occur are gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea . In diabetics , omega 3 fatty acid supplements may also increase blood sugar levels . However , these side effects are very rare in the consumption of omega- 3 supplements under 1 gram / day . 
What about the dangers of mercury contained in fish ?
Some of certain fish contain high levels of mercury . To avoid mercury contamination , you can get rid of fish scales before cooking . Also, avoid the consumption of shark , swordfish , king mackerel , or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury . 
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Posted: February 8, 2014 at 6:42 am, Last Updated: December 14, 2015 at 12:20 pm