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What Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

Research shows that eating two 4-ounce servings of seafood per week may reduce the risk of heart disease and related deaths. Many health professionals attribute this potentially life-saving quality of seafood to the presence of omega-3 essential fatty acids. And, omega-3s are not limited to fish and seafood. They are also found in some vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and soy foods.

Fish contain two important omega-3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapetaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaeonic acid). Although the research is limited, studies show that in patients with known heart disease, higher blood levels of DHA and EPA are associated with a reduction in arrhythmias (irregular heart beat) and fatal heart disease. However, the benefit of eating fish is not clear for those without known heart disease. If you have high blood triglycerides, consuming omega-3 fatty acids may help lower your levels.

Written by Sarah Klemm, RD, CD

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