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Eating More Salmon Can Help Combat This Disease, New Study Suggests

Your arteries will thank you later.

There are so many reasons to consider adding salmon to your meal plan. This fish provides a healthy boost of vitamins B6 and D, and it fits perfectly in the world's healthiest diet, to name a few.

Now, new research suggests omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fatty fish such as salmon, may play a vital role in fighting off atherosclerosis, the condition that describes plaque build-up within the walls of the arteries. In the study, which was published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers found omega-3 fatty acids form molecules that activate a receptor which can be important to stopping the inflammation process, combating the disease. (The 100 Unhealthiest Foods On the Planet)

"Omega-3 fatty acids can potentially help protect against atherosclerosis by several means, in particular by reducing inflammation, a key [factor] driving atherosclerosis disease," Hildur Arnardottir, PhD, lead author of the study, told Eat This, Not That! in an interview.

However, she cautioned, "This study is just one piece of the big puzzle and further studies are needed before we can fully translate this to humans."

What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Salmon

Even if scientists may not be able to say for certain yet that eating more omega-3 fatty acids will protect you from atherosclerosis, the anti-inflammatory properties of these fatty acids have been tied to a wide range of other health benefits, including keeping your mind sharp and reducing joint pain.

Getting more of these fatty acids in your diet may take some work, since the processed foods on shelves at most grocery stores are made with lower-quality oils, such as safflower or soybean oil, which are rich in omega-6 fatty acids rather than omega-3s, Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert and co-author of Sugar Shock, told Eat This, Not That!.

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"When your omegas are off-balanced in this way, it may promote low-grade, chronic inflammation that's tied to numerous health problems, including autoimmune inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and mood disorders," she said.

So, before your next trip to the grocery store, consider making a point of adding foods high in omega-3 fatty acids to your shopping list. If you're not sure where to start, Victoria Goodman, DSC, RD, LDN, CLT, recommends that you "aim to consume fatty fish two times a week" and "enjoy avocado, flaxseed, and olive oil most days of the week."

For more omega-3-rich suggestions, check out these 26 Best Omega-3 Foods to Fight Inflammation and Support Heart Health.

Clara Olshansky
Clara Olshansky (they/she) is a Brooklyn-based writer and comic whose web content has appeared in Food & Wine, Harper’s Magazine, Men's Health, and Reductress. Read more about Clara
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