According to Wikipedia, Omega is the 24th and last letter of the Greek alphabet. It literally means “great O”, and perhaps that greatness goes beyond Greek beliefs.

In a balanced diet, all nutrients are important, but there are some that, because of the role they play in the body, are simply essential.

One of them is omega 3, the best ally of the heart. Omega 3 is of great importance to your heart. It could reduce cardiovascular disease by up to 70%.

Omega 3 is known as an essential fatty acids because they are essential for the proper functioning of the body.

If the entire population followed a Mediterranean diet with a high content of this fatty acid “the incidence of cardiovascular disease could be reduced up to 70%,” notes the Omega 3 White Paper.

Omega 3 plays a key role while it remains largely unknown, even among people who care for their health.

According to surveys, millions of people keep cholesterol at bay, eat a diet that can be considered healthy, practice physical exercise and control their stress. That is, they are aware that the heart, as the engine of a car, requires continuous care, but when it comes to preventing problems they do not take omega 3 into account.

Preventing heart attacks as an attainable challenge

Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the incidence of myocardial infarction and, among people who have already suffered one, it decreases the probability of a second event.

They not only help control cholesterol, but also blood pressure and triglycerides, two other key factors for heart health.

Omega 3 reduces key risk factors in cardiovascular diseases: cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.

In many developed nations, the first cause of mortality is cardiovascular disease and it is estimated that its incidence will increase by 20% in the next two decades.

Data speak clearly and show that prevention is presented “as the great challenge for specialists,” says the Omega 3 White Paper. In that strategy, diet is fundamental, and within it, the type of fat that is taken is absolutely important.

Do you listen to what health organizations have to say?

Health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) note that a maximum of 10% of the energy we spend must come from saturated fats and a minimum of 5% of essential fatty acids such as Omega 3.

An adult should consume a minimum of 250 milligrams a day of EPA and DHA, and this dose should reach two grams when there are already risk factors.

These are desirable amounts to prevent long-term health problems. However, over half of western populations take less than what is recommended, mainly because the consumption of fish is less and less prevalent because of its high price.

What to do about this situation? Specialists have sought simple and practical alternatives, though not necessarily the healthiest ones.  They pose that cow milk consumption must be adopted as a source of Omega 3.

Milk is available to more people than Omega 3 alone is. That is their reasoning for recommending it. The daily intake recommended by the WHO is achieved with two glasses per day.

When questioned about why should people consume milk, most experts state that people have been drinking milk for 8,500 years. Milk is part of the human diet since the Neolithic. However, that does not mean that it is nutritionally optimum.

Most of milk is water, between 87% and 90%, but it also has special chemical-physical characteristics. Its physicochemical characteristics make it an ideal vehicle for the incorporation of nutrients, such as omega-3.

When it comes to Omega 3 and other fatty acids, people must take it through diet since our body has a limited capacity to manufacture them, and, together with other habits, they are fundamental in the puzzle of cardiovascular prevention.

Such a reality makes it more logical for people to take milk as a source of Omega 3, but at what cost?

Milk is well-known for its high levels of saturated fat, which is a problem for many people who suffer from obesity. So milk intake as a source of calcium and Omega 3 is not a solution for everyone.

Non-dairy sources of Omega 3 do a better job at providing the body with this and other fatty acids, without the saturated fat load. Most of those sources come from the ocean. The list includes salmon, cod liver, herring, sardines, anchovies, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts for those of you who are vegetarians and vegans.

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