Balance your diet, balance your health Balance your diet, balance your health

Omega-3 for your heart

Don’t wait until middle age before looking after the most important organ in your body. Heart problems, unfortunately, are increasingly striking early in life. Your heart is your engine, and you really need to check its oil level. Literally so, because a good oil – fish oil, specifically – will help your heart to keep beating at the right rhythm.

A daily gram of omega 3

Fish oil, oily fish and semi-oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart. That’s acknowledged by the Belgian Cardiology League. Examples of oily and semi-oily fish include sardines, herring, mackerel, salmon, eels, salmon trout and halibut. The kinds of fish that are most widely eaten in Belgium - cod and pollack - unfortunately contain very little omega 3. Happily there are also good quality fish oil supplements that can make up for any shortage of omega 3 in your diet.

What does omega 3 do for the heart?

Because it helps your heart to keep beating at the right rhythm, omega 3- fatty acids from fish oil help to prevent heart attacks. They keep the blood vessels healthy and clean. They don’t reduce cholesterol, but they do make the bad cholesterol less sticky. So this cholesterol does not clog the lining of the blood vessels, and that lowers the risk of narrowing or hardening of the arteries.


Who needs more omega 3?

The aim is to take at least 250 mg of EPA and DHA daily, and preferably one gram. EPA and DHA are the particular omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil or oily fish. People who are overweight or who suffer from type 2 diabetes needs more omega 3. Typical daily doses are up to 2 or 3 grams of EPA and DHA. Such doses are only possible with a high-quality fish oil supplement. It’s interesting to know that the European Food Safety Authority considers the long-term daily intake of 5 grams of EPA and DHA from fish oil supplements as safe for adults.