Omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the physical harm caused by smoking, according to a Greek study presented at the World Congress of Cardiology. This article looks at the findings from this study, and provides a list of foods that are a good source of Omega-3s. As a bonus, all of these foods are also conducive to a healthy digestive system.
This study looked at the effects of a four-week long oral therapy of 2 grams each day of omega 3 fatty acids on arterial wall properties of cigarette smokers. Arterial function is an independent marker of heart disease risk. Short-term treatment with omega-3s was seen to improve arterial stiffness and slow down smoking-induced damage to the elasticity of blood vessel walls in smokers.
These heart protective properties of omega-3s appear to be due to a combination of multiple mechanisms, including both anti-inflammatory and anti-atherosclerotic effects.
Further, a recent meta-analysis was conducted on over 39,000 patients with cardiovascular problems who were administered omega 3 dietary supplements for at least a year. This supplementation therapy significantly reduced risk of death in these patients due to heart disease and all other causes. In fact, omega-3s were clearly more effective than statin drugs in reducing heart disease-related deaths.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), even people without a documented history of heart disease should consume a variety of oily fish rich in omega-3s, such as sardines, wild salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna at least twice per week.
Almonds, walnuts, flax seed, canola oil, soybean oil and green leafy vegetables are plant sources of omega-3s. They contain a short-chain form of omega-3s known as alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. ALA needs to be processed by your body into the longer form of omega-3s before you can benefit from them.
While the only way to protect your body from the harmful effects of tobacco is to stop smoking, eating a healthy diet rich in omega 3s can clearly reverse some of the physical harm caused by smoking, including lowering the risk of heart disease.