TORONTO, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - Did you know that over the average life span, a
heart beats 2 to 3 billion times? As one of the hardest working muscles
pumping oxygen and essential nutrients throughout your body an average
of 100,000 times a day, the heart needs a lot of help to stay working
Cardiovascular disease is largely preventable, yet heart disease
continues to be one of the leading causes of death in Canada. Heart
disease most often occurs when "plaque" — fatty deposits composed of
cholesterol, fats and other debris — builds up on the inside walls of
the arteries, decreasing arterial elasticity, narrowing arteries,
impeding blood flow, raising blood pressure, and increasing the
possibility of myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke.
Although the rates of heart disease in Canada have been steadily
declining over the past 40 years, there is new concern that mortality
rates due to cardiovascular disease may once again swell with the
escalating aging population, increased obesity in the general
population, and the increased incidence of type 2 diabetes.
But the heart of heart disease is lifestyle — lack of exercise, a poor
diet, and high stress. Nutritious meals filled with fresh fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, along with regular exercise
can keep your weight in check, lower blood sugar levels and
cholesterol, while delivering important nutrients to your body. But
they're only part of the solution. There are others including adequate
consumption of essential fatty acids (EFAs), which is vital to overall
wellness. The body is unable to synthesize omega-3 fats, so dietary
intake is essential — hence, the term "essential" in EFA. Most diets
today are lacking in long-chain omega-3, so that's where the remarkable
health benefits of oily fish and fish oil supplements fit in.
Omega-3 fish oils, rich in EPA and DHA (long-chain fatty acids,) have
become popular supplements due to their well-documented benefits on the
cardiovascular system. Fish oils exert a myriad of cardio-protective
effects on the heart and blood vessels including a reduction in the
risk of sudden cardiac death, inflammation, and serum triglyceride
As with any nutrient, it is important to consume sufficient amounts to
ensure its protective effects. At this time, there are no established
guidelines available from Health Canada or the FDA regarding the
recommended daily allowance (RDA). The American Heart Association has
published the following recommendation on their website:
For individuals with no documented coronary heart disease it is
recommended to eat a variety of fish (preferable fatty) at least twice
Patients with documented coronary heart disease. Consume about 1 gram of
EPA+DHA combination per day.
Patients with high triglycerides should consume 2 to 4 grams of EPA+DHA.
People taking more than 3 combined grams of omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA
per day should consult a physician about potential side effects, such
as gastrointestinal distress. High intakes could cause excessive
bleeding in some people.
Much of the Western world is at risk for cardiovascular disease, largely
due to our sedentary lifestyle and less than optimal diets.
Supplementing your diet with omega-3 fish oils is a natural health
solution with heart.
Michele Sevier Biography
Michele Sevier, DNM, DAc, is an educator and advocate of natural health
and healing. As an independent advisor to Nutrition House, she is
actively involved in many facets of integrative medicine including
research, the formulation of specialized supplements, and providing
natural health solutions to the general public through Nutrition
House's 'Ask Our Expert' service at www.nutritionhouse.com.
SOURCE Nutrition House Canada Inc.
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