Most Omega-3 fatty acid studies have been focused on those who already have high blood pressure. A new study out of Switzerland, however, reveals some interesting findings from healthy participants aged 25 to 41.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Don’t be frightened by the term fatty acid. It’s a necessary element in our diet, and our body doesn’t naturally produce it. Omega-3s, in particular, have shown to improve the functioning of our blood vessels, decrease inflammation, and strengthen heart health. It can be found in foods such as: fish (salmon, tuna, halibut), walnuts, flaxseeds, olive oil, beans, winter squash, tofu, and others.
Very high doses of omega-3s can lower blood pressure momentarily. But what about long-term, moderate use? Will that prevent high blood pressure in the future? That’s what the scientists were wondering…
Lead researcher, Dr. Mark Filipovic, studied results from 2,000 participants in the program. Men and women, aged 25 to 41, were divided into four groups. All of the people were considered healthy, did not have diabetes and were not obese. (Those conditions tend to impact blood pressure levels.)
Those with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had the lowest systolic and lowest diastolic of all the groups. Systolic pressure is the top number of the blood pressure reading; it measures the pressure exerted against artery walls when the heart beats. Diastolic pressure, the bottom number, measures the pressure exerted when the heart rests between beats.
How an Omega-3-rich Diet Can Benefit You
The assumption, after that particular study, is that encouraging diets rich in omega-3s could be a tool in preventing high blood pressure. Filipovic expressed that, overall, if blood pressure levels were lowered—even a small amount—it would make a big difference. Fewer people might suffer strokes and heart attacks.
An alternate study, which focused on those who already have high blood pressure, noted that adding omega-3 fatty acids into their diet reduced their levels. Even less than a gram made a difference. (That’s a handful of walnuts and a half of an avocado, or a 4-ounce piece of Alaskan salmon.)
Instead of taking more supplements, it’s best to incorporate fresh foods that promote optimum health. And when it comes to your heart, you don’t want to mess around. Click here for other helpful information on good-for-your-body foods.