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Testing for Omega-3 Levels: The Future of Routine Blood Screenings?


Instead of eat your vegetables, the next generation might actually grow up more familiar with the chant of eat your fish. Cold water, oily fish such as salmon, anchovies or herring is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been linked to significant health benefits, such as reducing plaque in the bloodstream, improving heart health, reducing joint pain and stiffness, and safeguarding the brain and mental health.

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Now, a recent study suggests eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of premature death, and that routinely monitoring an individuals levels of omega-3 fatty acids may be a better predictor of good health than monitoring cholesterol.

Study Finds Omega-3 Levels May Be a Good Indicator of Overall Health

Led by Dr. William Harris of the University of North Dakota, the study involved observing 2,500 participants from age 66 to age 73, all free of known cardiovascular problems. Using the ‘omega-3 index,’ researchers measured the participants levels of EPA and DHA. This index was used in the famous Framingham Heart Study, a ground breaking research effort launched in 1948, which has since identified numerous risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Harris study found that participants with the highest levels of omega-3s were 39% less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. They also drew a comparison between blood cholesterol and omega-3 levels as an indicator of health, and recommended further exploration of adding the omega-3 index to routine blood screens, along with cholesterol and glucose.

One of the best ways to up your intake of omega-3s is by including wild, cold water fish in your diet. Not a fan of fish? Other good sources include grass-fed beef (160 mg per 6-ounce steak) or eggs laid by hens fed an omega-3 rich diet (225 mg per egg). If you follow a plant-based diet, you can boost your dietary levels by including plenty of tofu (814 mg per 3-ounce serving), walnuts, (2,500 mg per cup) or chia seeds (2,500 mg per Tbsp).

Its always beneficial to embrace natural solutions to safeguard your good health. With all the known health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, it makes sense to work additional servings into your daily diet.

In search of a delicious dish bursting with omega-3s? Check out this recipe: Simply Delicious BBQ Salmon.


Debbie Swanson Debbie Swanson is a freelance writer, published in numerous national and local outlets. An avid vegetarian, animal lover and reader, she loves learning about healthy eating and finding natural cures for everyday ailments.

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