Nuts to Fish Oil?: April 23, 2014

Super foods always seem to generate super buzz - when something is mentioned for health benefits, people are hungry to know more.

“A lot of these super foods we hear time and again, come up in the media as foods that are beneficial in one way or another to someone’s health. A lot of the things we hear recurrently are Omega 3s which come from the fatty fish as well as plant based sources,” says Lee Memorial Health System cardiologist Dr. Brian Taschner.

Nutritional guidelines encourage low intake of saturated fats and high consumption of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish, nuts and plant sources as a way to improve cardiovascular health.

“The fish oils are felt to have an, they’re also felt to have a blood thinning benefit as well as vasodilating properties,” anti-inflammatory benefit Dr. Taschner says. “So they help to dilate the blood vessels and lower the blood pressure. They also favorably influence the cholesterol profile.”

The American College of Cardiology recently took a closer look at dozens of studies on the impact of Omega 3. It found mixed results based in part on studies which included self-reporting of health benefits. But the overall takeaway is that Omega 3 in its natural form may have benefits, while supplements were not proven to have the same effect.

In theory they should behave the same, it’s thought that concentrated supplements are distributed faster than the slow dispersal of natural food. Either way, experts still support their superstar.

“For many of my patients i think there’s certainly benefit,” says Dr. Taschner.

So you can still take your fatty fish and nuts to heart.