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Fish oil

Heart disease healer. Would you believe eating fat can make you thin ? Well, a part of you anyway. Omega-3 fatty acids help thin your blood, and this may protect your heart. Like aspirin, omega-3 helps keep your blood from becoming too sticky and forming clots, which can cause heart attack and stroke. Studies show that eating one 3-ounce serving of fatty fish per week can cut your risk of heart attack in half. If you never eat seafood, but start including even a moderate amount in your diet, you can lower your risk of heart disease by 50 to 70 percent.

 

Fish oil also lowers your bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and it helps protect against irregular heartbeats. if your high blood pressure is caused by hardening of the arteries, heart disease, or high cholesterol, fish oil may be just what the doctor ordered. The higher your cholesterol levels and the worse your heart disease, the better fish oil works to lower your blood pressure.

 

If you're free and clear of heart disease, fish oil may or may not help your blood pressure. Studies show you have to take a lot to get any effect at all.

 

If you really want to live right, consider moving to Greenland. The Eskimos there are well-known for their low death rates from heart attack. Studies have shown their diet of seal, walrus, and mackerel puts them in fish oil heaven.

 

Takes a stab at strokes. Eating fish may be smart stroke protection for women.

 

A four-year study showed that white women who ate fish more than once a week suffered strokes about half as much as those who never ate fish. White men didn't show the same effect, but black women and men did.

 

Since stroke is the third leading cause of death in women, you may want to put fish at the top of your next grocery list.

 

The news isn't all bad for men, either. A 25-year study found that men who did not have strokes during that time ate almost 50 percent more fish than the men who did have strokes. The risk was lower for the men who consistently ate fish than for those who change their eating patterns later to include fish.

 

Animal studies show that fish oil helps stop blood clots from forming in your blood vessels. Since blood clots can cause strokes, it makes sense that this would help prevent them.

 

There is a drawback, however. Fish oil's blood-thinning effect may increase your risk of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain. This only seems to occur when people eat huge amounts of fish. If you eat a sensible amount, two to three portions a week, you'll reap the benefits and not have to worry about the dangers.

 

Pain-free periods. Nausea, bloating, headaches, cramps. Does this sound like your monthly horror show ? Omega-6 fatty acids may be partly responsible for your uncomfortable menstrual symptoms. They help produce certain substances, called prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which cause those unwelcome and painful conditions.

 

But omega-3 fats come to the rescue, so to speak. they compete to make the same substances, and this interaction helps reduce the inflammatory effect omega-6 has on your body.

 

A study with adolescents found that omega-3 supplements did just that, resulting in less-painful periods.

 

Attacks arthritis. Arthritis acting up ? Dig in to a seafood dinner several times a week and keep those joints moving.

 

In a recent study, people with rheumatoid arthritis who took 3 to 6 grams of an omega-3 supplement reported a fewer number of tender joints and shorter period of morning stiffness. They were able to stop their anti-inflammatory medications, and the relief lasted up to eight weeks after stopping the supplements.

 

Eating fish, especially the dark, oily kind like salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna, mackerel, and bluefish, is the best way to get your fish oil. But although it may help soothe your pain, you shouldn't depend on diet alone to control your arthritis. You'd need to eat a salmon or mackerel every day to get 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. The recommended two or three servings of fish a week wouldn't do it.

 

Good for diabetics. Eskimos who eat a lot of fish don't seem to get diabetes as often as most people. with diabetes, your body is "glucose intolerant," meaning it has a hard time regulating your sugar levels. Fish oil has been shown to reduce this glucose intolerance, but it has to be eaten every day. If you have mild diabetes, you may benefit from fish oil, but if you have a severe form of diabetes, it probably won't help.

 

Prevents relapse in Crohn's disease. Crohn's disease is a painful condition that can affect any part of your gastrointestinal tract from your mouth to your bottom. the most common place for problems is at the end of your small intestine where it joins the large intestine. Fish oil may prevent a relapse of this disease because it keeps the inflammation from flaring up.

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