Lifestyle changes for better cardiac health – Can fish oil supplements help?

Your lifestyle is certainly the best defense against stroke and other cardiovascular problems and hence it is your responsibility to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Heart diseases contribute to more than 18 million deaths all over the world every year. This results to one-third of the deaths among people who have crossed 35 years of age. Such facts and statistics on heart disease and death emphasize on how vital it is to prevent yourself from all such cardiovascular disorders. When fibrous materials and cholesterol accumulate in the artery walls, forming a lesion or plaque, this sets the stage for atherosclerosis which in turn leads to heart attacks. Atherosclerosis is when the arteries are hardened and when blood can’t flow optimally from the stiff arteries. The heart then needs to work harder to push blood and the buildup of plaque will later on lead to heart issues.

It sounds straight and simple when you hear that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US and stroke is the no. 5 cause of death in the US. One of the biggest factors that contribute to these statistics is the lack of commitment to a proper heart-friendly lifestyle. Your lifestyle is certainly the best defense against stroke and other cardiovascular problems and hence it is your responsibility to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Lifestyle changes to welcome a heart-healthy life

Experts always recommend people to take care of their lifestyle so that they don’t develop chronic illnesses which can later on lead to death. So, what are the steps that you should take? Here are few that you should start following now.

#1: Quit smoking

If you’re someone who smokes, make sure you quit smoking and if there is someone in your home, who is also a smoker, motivate them to quit smoking. Though this is tough but you should remember that it is even tougher for you to recover from a stroke or a heart attack or live through the rest of your life with chronic heart problems. So, commit to quit smoking and get help of quit smoking plans and programs if needed.

#2: Lower bad cholesterol levels

When there is too much fat accumulated in your arteries, there is definitely a disaster that is waiting to occur. Eventually, this could lead to either a stroke or a heart attack. If this is the case with you, you should reduce the consumption of saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fat and start moving. There are times when physical activity and diet don’t get these numbers down and this is when you should start taking medicines. Check out where these numbers should be:

  •  Total cholesterol: The total cholesterol score is computed by using the equation- HDL + LDL +20% of the level of triglyceride.
  • LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol: When the LDL cholesterol level is low, this is considered as perfect for the health of your heart. The LDL number should never be the main factor for guiding treatment to prevent stroke and heart attack, as per the current guidelines of American Heart Association. There are other lifestyle factors like a diet that is high in saturated and transfats which can raise LDL cholesterol.
  • HDL and cholesterol is good cholesterol: HDL is good cholesterol and higher levels are usually better. Low HDH cholesterol will put you at a higher risk of heart issues. Genetic factors, smoking, type 2 diabetes, having a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight can lead to low HDL cholesterol.
  • Triglycerides: Triglycerides is a common kind of fat that is present inside the body. Normal triglyceride levels differ according to sex and age. High level of triglyceride along with low HDL cholesterol is often related to atherosclerosis and buildup of fatty deposits increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.

#3: Stay physically active each day

Try to remain physically active everyday as this is the best way in which you can take care of your heart health. Experts recommend that at least 150 minutes of activity in a week (moderate to intense) can help you lower your blood pressure, retain your weight and also lower cholesterol. Some sort of exercise is always better than nothing. So, if you’re someone who is still not much active, start out without any delay. Even if you exercise for a few minutes, this can offer you several health benefits.

#4: Lower your blood pressure if it is high

High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for stroke and it is also one of the biggest causes of disabilities in the US. Recovering from stroke is particularly difficult and in most cases, people remain disabled for life. So, you need to prevent yourself from taking too much of salt and take your medicines on time as is recommended by your doctor. The numbers need to stay down and a proper blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mmHg.

#5: Target having a healthy weight

Yet another prevalent disease in America is obesity, both among children and among adults. Though there are supplements like fish oil vitamins, nutrition supplements and fad diets, they are not always the answer. You need to control the intake of calories, consume proper nutrition and keep moving your body if you want to retain the optimum weight in accordance with your height. As soon as you become obese, you become more vulnerable to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Calculate your BMI to deduce whether or not the weight is healthy.

#6: Limit your stress levels

There are few studies have noted that there is a strong and direct relationship between heart diseases and stress. Stress also increases the risk of stroke. People who are already going through stress usually overeat, they begin to smoke and they often smoke much more than what they should. Research reveals that reaction to stress among young adults will lead to risk of blood pressure during the middle-age.

Fish Oil – How it is effective for cardiovascular disorders

Fish oil usually comes from the tissues of oily fish and the biggest sources are cold water fatty fish. As long as consumption of fish oil by humans is concerned, you can get it from the fish or from some other fish oil supplement. This specific oil is nothing but a concentrated form of omega-3 fats. Few of the best fishes that you may eat in order to get this fish oil are herring, salmon, sardines, white fish and anchovies. Let’s take a look at the fish oil benefits.

Alzheimer’s Disease

There has always been a strong link between fish oil and Alzheimer’s and several studies have been shown to prove the results. The important fatty acids are imperative for proper functioning of brain and this is found in fish oil. These omega-3 fatty acids can slow down cognitive decline and can also prevent brain atrophy among the elders. Hence, fish oil is the weapon to fend off cognitive impairment and dementia.


There are many who believe that omega-3 fatty acids can even contribute to the symptoms of ADHD and other developmental issues apart from other mental health disorders. It was in a study that was done in the year 2012 on children in between the age of 6 and 12 years and it was found that omega-3 and omega-6 acid supplementation gave positive results to such children. Increased level of omega-3 intake can also improve the behavior and literacy in children who are suffering from ADHD.


It was evaluated in the year 2014 how borage seed oil which was rich in fish oil could work in treating patients who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. The 3 age groups, one that took fish oil, one that took borage oil and one that took a combination of the two witnessed noteworthy reductions in the activity of the disease. There was no other medical therapy which outperformed the fish oil and borage oil supplements.


A study was published by the European Journal of Neuroscience which showed that fish oil could reverse all depression-like and anxiety-like behavior that was found in rats and mice. During the critical periods of brain development, if fish oil could be used, this would cure the depression and anxiety later on in life. The same is the case with humans and since then fish oil supplements were also used in reducing anxiety attacks. This could also lead to improved heart conditions.

Cardiovascular diseases

As per several researches which showed that if you replaced fat with carbs, this can even be worse for the human heart and it was also found out that many polyunsaturated fatty acids have more advantageous effects rather than negative on cardiovascular diseases. So, fish oil fatty acids have got anti-inflammatory properties and hence it can prevent several other heart diseases from occuring.

Therefore, if you know someone who is suffering from poor heart conditions, you should ask them to change their lifestyle and bring about all the above mentioned changes. Taking the right diet and the right supplements can also improve your heart health without doubt.

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