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Protect Your Heart with Omega-3s

Research indicates diets that include fish with high levels of omega-3s may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and even diabetes. But if you're not a fish lover, you have plenty of options.

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Omega 3s

Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fats -- namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -- seems especially important for people with diabetes, whose risk of heart disease is three times greater than normal.

Women with type 2 diabetes who ate fish (a rich source of omega-3s) at least one to three times a month had a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who ate fish less than once a month, according to a study from the Harvard University School of Public Health.

Why They're So Good for You

"Preliminary research shows a diet high in omega-3 fats and low in saturated fat may protect against type 2 diabetes," says Joyce Nettleton, Ph.D., R.D., author of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Health (Springer, 1995). "When coupled with weight loss and physical activity, omega-3s can help to slow the progression of glucose intolerance to full-blown type 2 diabetes in overweight people.”"

In addition, omega-3 fats:

  • lower triglycerides

  • lower blood pressure

  • prevent blood clots

  • raise HDL (good) cholesterol

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