Got Fish Oil?

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Mounting evidence supports the healthy-heart benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. You’ve probably heard of them before; they’re the fatty acids found in fish or fish-oil supplements.

This month, a group of scientists writing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiologyhas gone back to review decades’ worth of past studies on the fatty acids’ heart effects. These studies, which include four randomized controlled trials, reaffirm that omega-3 fatty acids both prevent heart disease in healthy people, and limit cardiac events (things like heart attacks and sudden cardiac death) among people with existing heart disease. The protective effect is most pronounced in people who already have heart problems.

Based on the findings, the researchers behind this recent review encourage people to get at least 500 mg per day of two relevant acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They recommend even more — a daily 800 mg to 1,000 mg of the two acids combined — if you already have known coronary heart disease.

High-dose omega-3 foods include oily fish like salmon, sardines, trout and herring, as well as flax (or linseed) and certain nuts, including walnuts. Alternatively, you can buy the stuff in supplement pills.