February is National Heart Month – the perfect opportunity to make small changes to your lifestyle that could help make a big difference to your heart health. Small changes, such as moving more, cutting down on alcohol, and eating a more balanced diet can have a big impact.
Healthy eating for a healthy heart is a pattern. It doesn’t focus on one type of food or nutrient, but rather on what you eat over days, weeks, and months.
A heart-healthy diet is naturally low in saturated fats, salt, and added sugar and rich in wholegrains, fibre, antioxidants and unsaturated fats.
Omega 3 fatty acids – found in supplements and naturally in some foods like oily fish, and nuts and seeds – have long been touted for their health benefits, especially heart health.
A wealth of evidence suggests that individuals who eat oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna between one and four times a week are less likely to die of heart disease than those who do not.
After the menopause, a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease matches that of a man’s because of the loss of protective oestrogen, which means that women over 50 need to be particularly mindful that they are consuming enough Omega 3s, and including lots of natural phytoestrogenic foods in their diet; this will help to protect heart health and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Aim to fill your plate with foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, and ones from this helpful list, please click here.
Why are Omega 3s essential for health?
There has been lots of research into Omega 3 fats and oily fish, and how they can improve heart health. In countries where people eat more oily fish, such as in the Mediterranean, Greenland and Japan, fewer people have heart disease compared to countries where people eat very little oily fish, such as the UK.
Some of the many benefits of Omega 3s include:
- Helping to reduce long-term, low levels of inflammation
- Helping you to produce hormones – Omega3s make up a really important part of the structure of each cell in your body
- Preventing your heart and blood vessels from getting damaged (due to anti-inflammatory benefits). Omega 3s might also lower your blood lipids (triglycerides), blood pressure, and risk of blood clotting. This can reduce your risk of things like heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death.
- A diet high in omega-3s is linked to a lower risk of some cancers, particularly colon cancer.
To further boost your intake of Omega 3s, why not try my heart-healthy Brain Boosting Omega 3 Kedgeree recipe?
In addition to the critical role Omega 3 fatty acids play in heart health, they also play a key role in maintaining normal brain function throughout life. They are abundant in the cell membranes of brain cells, preserving cell membrane health and facilitating communication between brain cells, which is why we need to eat plenty of them to avoid any deficits in brain function.
This delicious kedgeree is packed with important nutrients and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.
Focusing on your heart health has never been more important. People with poor cardiovascular health are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, so if you don’t eat oily fish on a regular basis, supplementation is a great option.
If you have any questions about our products, or any other matter relating to digestive and gut health, please get in touch and one of our team will get back to you.