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Men: Want a healthy heart? Get as many omega-3s as the Japanese do

by Barlean's on August 08, 2017

Want a healthy heart? Men?.jpeg

Heart health is important for everyone, but it’s a special concern for men, particularly in middle age and beyond. What if there was a simple dietary change you could make that promote heart health?* A study comparing Japanese and American men suggests there is. Consuming more marine-derived omega-3s was linked with more flexible arteries, a key component of cardiovascular health. [1]

  

The observational study, published in the British journal Heart, followed 175 Japanese men living in Japan and 113 Caucasian men living in the United States (aged 40-49 at the beginning of the study), tracking their consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and their cardiovascular health for five years 

 

Of course, we expect Japanese men to have higher levels of omega-3s in their blood, because they eat more fish than American men. But the difference was pretty staggering: Japanese men had more than twice the omega-3 blood levels of American men. They also had significantly more flexible arteries, even after controlling for other factors that affect cardiovascular health, such as smoking and high blood pressure.* 

 

Exactly how much more fish do Japanese folks eat compared to their American counterparts? On average, they consume 100 grams of fish daily, while Americans eat a measly 7 to 13 grams a day. Japanese people also eat more seaweed another source of omega-3s than Americans. 

 

You may be thinking that the differences in heart health between Japanese and American men are simply genetic. But Japanese-Americans who have adopted an American diet don’t enjoy the same heart health as their relatives in Japan. In fact, their heart health is worse than the average American’s.  

 

To help your ticker, try eating a diet rich in omega-3s, found in fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, walnuts, chia and flax seeds, and even (in small amounts) some vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Taking a fish or flax oil supplement is an easy and convenient way to optimize your omega-3 consumption. 

 

* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. 

 

References 

 [1] Sekilawa A, et al. Heart. 2014 Apr;100(7):569-73.

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