Omega 3 health benefits: Can seafood help to prevent heart disease and arthritis?

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The National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH) stated there is “moderate evidence” that people with heart disease are less likely to die from the condition if they eat seafood once a week. This is in comparison to those with heart disease who rarely or never eat seafood. Further evidence suggests that seafood “should be included in a heart-healthy diet”.

What is heart disease?

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) explained that heart disease encompasses a host of conditions that narrow or block blood vessels.

Narrowed or blocked arteries can lead to angina (i.e. chest pain), a heart attack, and some strokes.

The symptoms of heart disease can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Pain, weakness or numb legs and/or arms
  • Breathlessness
  • Very fast or slow heartbeat, or palpitations
  • Feeling dizzy, lightheaded or faint
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen limbs.

Certain lifestyle choices greatly increase a person’s chances of developing heart disease.

READ MORE: Diabetes type 2: Out of control blood sugars could cause the Somogyi effect – what is it?

Taylor continued: “Fish is a great source of protein and contains a range of vitamins and minerals.”

Eating more fish can also help a person to cut down on red and processed meat, which is not part of a heart-healthy diet.

The NIH added that omega-3 “may be modestly helpful in relieving symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis”.

The scientific literature review found that participants reported “briefer morning stiffness, less joint swelling and pain, and less need for anti-inflammatory drugs to control their symptoms”.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explained that rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease.

The inflammatory condition is caused by the immune system attacking healthy joints in the body.

This leads to painful swelling, and is most commonly reported in the hands, wrists, and knees.

There are periods of flare-ups and remission with rheumatoid arthritis, which means the symptoms come and go.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

The CDC highlighted eight signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, which are:

  1. Pain or aching in more than one joint
  2. Stiffness in more than one joint
  3. Tenderness and swelling in more than one joint
  4. The same symptoms on both sides of the body (such as in both hands or both knees)
  5. Weight loss
  6. Fever
  7. Fatigue or tiredness
  8. Weakness

Rheumatoid arthritis can develop at any age, but it more commonly strikes when people have reached their sixties.

Treatment includes maintaining a healthy weight, which can be aided by eating a healthy diet.

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