Omega-3 Reduces Blood Pressure: Study
A diet with liberal servings of fish, nuts, and seeds rich in nutrients
called omega-3 fatty acids can help lower a person's blood pressure,
according to a study released on Monday.
"A large percentage of people between ages 20 and 60 have a rise in blood
pressure, and by middle age many have high blood pressure," said Dr.
Jeremiah Stamler, professor emeritus of preventive medicine at Northwestern
University in Chicago, who worked on the study.
"We're looking at dietary factors that may help prevent that rise, and
omega-3 fatty acids are a small, but important piece of the action,"
The study looked at diet and its relation to blood pressure in 4,680 men
and women, ages 40 to 59, who lived in Japan, China, Britain, and the United
They all provided in-depth details about their diets and alcohol
consumption gave urine samples and had their blood pressure measured twice
at each of four study visits.
Researchers then adjusted for 17 variables known to influence blood
pressure such as age, gender, weight, salt intake, and exercise.
The people who ate diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids had slightly lower
blood pressure, on average, than people who ate diets with less of the
nutrient, the researchers reported in the American Heart Association
"With blood pressure, every millimeter counts. The effect of each nutrient
is apparently small but independent, so together they can add up to a
substantial impact on blood pressure," said Dr. Hirotsugu Ueshima of Shiga
University of Medical Science in Otsu, Japan.
"If you can reduce blood pressure a few millimeters from eating less salt,
losing a few pounds, avoiding heavy drinking, eating more vegetables, whole
grains and fruits (for their fiber, minerals, vegetable protein and other
nutrients) and getting more omega-3 fatty acids, then you've made a big
difference," Ueshima said in a statement.
When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, not all fish or nuts are equal. Fatty
fish such as trout, salmon, and mackerel are rich in this crucial group of
Walnuts, flaxseed and canola oil are also good sources of omega-3 fatty
acids and people who got their omega-3s from these sources had just as much
benefit as those who get them by eating fish, the study found.
Omega-3 fatty acid intake has also been linked to better brain development
and a lower overall risk of cancer and heart disease.
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