Are omega-3 fats good for the heart?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Omega-3 fats, a type of polyunsaturated fat found in fatty fish, nuts, and other foods, are particularly heart healthy. The main omega-3 fats in fish are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Studies show that fish and omega-3 fats reduce your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and sudden cardiac death. Omega-3s also decrease triglyceride levels.
One of the American Heart Association’s top diet strategies to beat heart disease is to eat two fish (preferably oily fish) meals (3.5 ounces each) weekly to reduce the risk of heart disease. Fish is not only low in heart-unhealthy saturated fat but also provides heart-healthy, omega 3 fatty acids. Research shows that these fatty acids may prevent irregular heart-beats, reduce atherosclerosis, and mildly lower blood pressure. Americans are currently consuming only about 0.1 to 0.2 grams of omega 3s daily, on average, as compared to the 0.5 grams recommended a day. Two fish meals a week will not only meet this daily recommendation but also displace saturated-fat laden protein-rich food, such as hot dogs, regular ground beef, and fried chicken on the plate.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.