There are a range of choices you can make to boost your heart health. You could mind the foods you eat. You can make sure your fitness routine includes a range of different kinds of exercises. You can try to stick to a regular sleep schedule.
Now, new research suggests that taking a low dose of omega-3 supplements every day could have benefits for your heart health too.
In a new meta-analysis (a statistical analysis of a bunch of existing studies) recently published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, researchers drew from 19 studies concerning how omega-3 supplementation affected participants' cardiovascular outcomes.
Researchers found a significantly lower risk of death from cardiac events when participants took the equivalent of two one-gram capsules of omega-3 supplements per day. However, the effects of larger doses were unclear.
"[This analysis] included 19 studies with a total of 97,709 participants in them, total, so that makes these findings more trustworthy – that's a lot of participants!" Seattle-based registered dietitian nutritionist, Ginger Hultin MS RDN CSO, owner of ChampagneNutrition and author of Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep and How to Eat to Beat Disease Cookbook tells to Eat This, Not That!. "Omega-3s have long been linked to positive cardiovascular outcomes so it's good to keep exploring the exact connection and dosing that is (or isn't) helpful. What's exciting is that researchers are continuing to look into exactly the role of omega-3s in our health."
Researchers have found a range of other possible health benefits from taking omega-3 supplements. For instance, the American Heart Association (AHA) suggests using certain prescription omega-3 supplements to help lower triglyceride levels. Omega-3s may also help keep your brain sharp and even have benefits for your mood.
Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD recommends opting for supplements that have at least 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA and that are made from concentrated fish oil. That being said, you may see greater benefits from getting omega-3s from the foods you eat, since some supplements won't offer the same benefits.
"As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I take a 'food first' approach and often talk to my clients about the role of omega-3-rich foods in heart health," says Hultin. "However, many people can benefit from supplements for a variety of reasons, and this study provides a bit more information that clinicians can use to help guide their patients."
If you're not sure which foods to start with, try these 26 Best Omega-3 Foods to Fight Inflammation and Support Heart Health.