February is not only the month for sending valentines; it's also American Heart Month! Heart disease is a major problem—it's the number one leading cause of death in the U.S. This is alarming, but the good news is heart disease is preventable and controllable. Along with watching your sodium and saturated fat intake, it is a good idea to make sure you are eating plenty of food that contains omega-3 fatty acids.
There are many studied health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, including lowering triglycerides and blood pressure, and decreasing the risk of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids which reduce inflammation in the blood vessels and joints. Diets rich in omega-3 fats produce healthy, flexible cell membranes that can do their jobs well, such as holding water and vital nutrients and communicating with other cells correctly.
Try these five foods to add more omega-3's to your diet:
Keep in mind that although these foods are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, they are still high in calories so eat them in moderation. If you decide to use an omega-3 supplement, talk to your physician first. Omega-3 supplements can increase bleeding in people taking blood thinning medications.
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
There's a lot of "hype" surrounding coconut oil. Claims tout the benefits for everything from weight loss to Alzheimer's disease. The truth is there isn't enough evidence to support all of these claims about its health benefits. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat—more than butter. Saturated fats are known to increase cholesterol and risk of coronary artery disease. Most of the fats you should eat should be from fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil. If you like to use coconut oil, choose virgin coconut oil and use it in moderation.
Physicians are members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health's subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and are neither employees nor agents of those medical centers, Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano or Baylor Scott & White Health.