Omega-3 fatty acids, the nutritious chemical compounds behind the “brain food” title attributed to fish, also have a hand in other essential bodily processes. As well as promoting healthy cognitive development, these essential acids – which can only be taken in through food and dietary supplements – have been shown to reduce the risk of ailments as varied as arthritis and certain forms of cancer. Recently, a team of Chinese researchers conducted a review of existing studies regarding omega-3 fatty acids and heart disease.
Heart disease continues to be a substantial medical concern around the world. In the United States alone, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 715,000 people suffer from a heart attack every year. Studies dating back to the 1970s have indicated that increasing omega-3 uptake may reduce this risk of a cardiovascular event, Nutraingredients-USA.com reports. And, in a new report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists from Beijing and Tianjin have sought to further understand this relationship.
Focusing on 15 studies that analyzed the impact of fish oil on heart rate variability, the researchers concluded that taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements could moderate the risk of abnormal heartbeat variations by “enhancing the vagal tone” – an essential rhythm dictated by the vagus nerve in the brainstem.
Though heart disease is a widespread issue across the country, it may be preventable. Taking steps to cut down on the amount of sodium and saturated fat in your diet, as well as consuming heart health compounds and exercising regularly, may help reduce your risk.
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