Omega-3, the fatty acid found in fish, helps to decrease blood pressure and can aid the battle against depression, a study has found.
Dr. James Brown, a professor from the Aston University, explored the correlation between marine oils and a range of health benefits, in particular heart health (opens in new tab).
The scientific report revealed fish oil has a positive effect on five different areas of heart health, including blood pressure (opens in new tab) and chronic heart disease.
It is beneficial in the fight against body fats, atherosclerosis, which is the plaque that builds up in the arteries, and irregular heart rhythms.
On top of the physical health benefits of fish oils on the heart and in fighting arthritis (opens in new tab), Dr Brown’s research revealed how some individuals who suffer from anxiety (opens in new tab), depression (opens in new tab) or premenstrual syndrome (opens in new tab) would benefit from the use of Omega-3 supplements.
A placebo study previously conducted on nearly 50 participants showed those who took fish oils containing Omega-3 had improved mood profiles, with increased vigour and energy and reduced anger, anxiety, and depression states.
“Omega-3 fats, and the benefits associated with them, have been widely debated in both the media and by scientists for many years,” said Dr James Brown.
“The recent report draws from published literature, assessing the strength of any claims of benefits from Omega-3 consumption, and evidence suggests that the maintenance of a healthy heart (opens in new tab) can be supported by Omega-3 intake.
“As we grow older, worries about heart conditions can be concerning, and it is reassuring that substances as accessible as Omega-3 can help maintain a healthy heart, including helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and lowering the levels of some circulating blood fats.
“This research hasn’t just revealed benefits of Omega-3 intake on cardiovascular health, but also across a range of key health conditions including mental health and cognitive development too, showing Omega-3 intake to be a good way of maintaining various elements of general health.”
Humans don’t naturally create Omega-3 so it is recommended we eat at least two portions of fish per week, including one of oily fish.
Taking a cod liver oil supplement is also a great way to get Omega-3 into a diet.
It is particularly important to do this during the winter, as fish oils are an excellent source of Vitamin D (opens in new tab) which we tend not to get due to lack of sunlight, with Vitamin D supporting (opens in new tab) muscles, bones and our immune systems during the harsher months.
“Many people don’t realise that our body can’t produce omega-3 naturally, so we do need to get it from our diet,” explained Dr Zoe Williams, NHS GP and TV health advisor.
"We all require a different level of Omega-3 for our health to be optimal.
“It is best to get Omega-3 from natural food sources, such as fish and certain nuts, seeds, and oils, but for those of us who struggle with this, taking a cod liver oil supplement is a good to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
Dr Zoe Williams’ top tips on maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet
- Move your body every day.
- Eat a varied diet, with lots of colourful fruit and vegetables, legumes, wholegrains, lean protein sources and fish. Your body doesn’t produce Omega-3 by itself so you need to get it from your diet and fish oil supplement.
- Try to limit processed and sugary foods.
- Eat lots of high fibre foods.
- Aim to consume 30 different types of plant species.
Aleesha is a digital shopping writer at woman&home—so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows what the best buys are at any moment. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. A year on the w&h news team gained her invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first—as well as an AOP awards nomination.
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