( What are omega-3 fatty acids? It is a nutritional factor in calling the attention of researchers for about 20 years ago - and what they found, could be a health benefit to anyone interested in a healthy heart.

In the 1980's, studies have shown that the Inuit had lower rates of heart disease despite their high fat diet rich in fish. It turns out that omega-3 fatty acids in fish may be what protects your heart, as well as other benefits.

Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in heart disease and cholesterol

Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Studies show that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce triglycerides and increase HDL (good cholesterol). Omega 3 fatty acids may also function as an anticoagulant to prevent blood clotting. Several other studies also suggest that these fatty acids may help lower blood pressure.

The potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in Alzheimer's disease

Omega 3 fatty acids may prevent the accumulation of proteins in the body and believed to be related to Alzheimer's disease, according to results of a new animal study of the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. The present investigation has studied a particular type of omega-3 fatty acids - docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and the results are encouraging.

Omega-3 fish or vegetables?

With the growing popularity of vegetarian diets and fears mount of mercury and PCBs in fish and shellfish, people often ask for help linseed oil (containing alpha-linolenic acid - or ALA) in instead of oil.

Our bodies can convert ALA into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - benefits of omega-3 elements - but change is slow. Moreover, the abundance of ALA (which occurs in flax oil pills) is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer for some initial research. Until more is known, men can choose the safest fish oil for heart-healthy omega-3, instead of concentrated in ALA.