Vegan Omega: The plant-based alternative for a healthy heart

Vegan Omega: The plant-based alternative for a healthy heart

24 Feb 2022

Aiming for that century? Keep your ticker ticking longer with Omega-3 for good heart health.

Over the years, plant-based diet options have become more accessible, cost-effective, and appealing to people taste buds and lifestyles.

Yet the question is how do we make sure our nutritional needs are still met despite giving up animal-based food products? After all, the human body commonly collects the nutrients it needs to thrive from food sources such as animal meats, eggs, dairy, and sometimes even organ meats. These animal products contain many kinds of essential minerals and vitamins that supply our body’s systems and organs with substances necessary for optimal functioning.

Omega-3 and heart health

Omega-3, in particular, is a common topic of discussion among those who subscribe to a vegan diet. Omega-3 is particularly important to heart health and optimum cardiovascular function. However, it is usually derived from animal sources such as fatty fish. While omega-3 may also be acquired from secondary sources such as select seeds, nuts, and plant oils, the omega-3 content in these may not be as high.

The challenge then is how to reap omega-3 benefits for heart health despite eating plant-based foods only. This is a concern that many vegans wish to address, and so we’re sharing more on a highly recommended alternative in this article.

Vegan Omega-3 supplements, such as those provided by Vitable Australia, may be the solution that vegans, or others who wish to avoid fish oil in their diet, may want to consider. Whether you’re transitioning to a vegan diet, a long-time vegan looking to bolster your nutrient intake or simply, one looking for new ways to improve your general well-being through the inclusion of high-quality supplementation, this article provides you with all the pointers you need.

Omega 3 benefits for heart

Differentiating between types of fatty acids

There are four kinds of fatty acids however, unlike omega-3, not all fatty acids are good for the body.

Saturated fats are sometimes called “bad fats” and can contribute to heightened risk of cardiovascular diseases. These fats can be found in both healthy sources such as dairy products and meats, but also in processed foods and commercial products (1).

Trans fats, which tend to behave like saturated fats, are commonly found in processed food (e.g.: crisps, canned goods, “instant” foods, packed and preserved sweets). They heighten the risk of cardiovascular diseases and can often lower the amount of good cholesterol in your body (1).

On the other hand, there are monounsaturated fats. These are a healthy type of fat that have been shown to help lower risk of heart disease, improve blood vessels and insulin levels. These are commonly found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados (2).

Polyunsaturated fats are other healthy fats that are found in many animal foods such as fish and seafood as well as some nuts and seeds. These fats include omega-3 (3) which supports heart function.

Understanding omega-3 fatty acids

Before we talk about vegan omega-3 supplementation, it is first important to understand the relationship between omega-3 and heart health.

Omega-3 supports cardiovascular system health (5). Having a healthy amount of omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of long-term illnesses (5).  

More so, omega-3 has been found to contribute to the maintenance of cardiovascular system health. Especially when paired with other health-protecting habits, the healthy consumption of omega-3 through diet promotes heart health by protecting against the development of triglycerides (a kind of fat) and other harmful deposits in the bloodstream,.

Defining heart health

The best gauge of a healthy heart is simple: having good cardiovascular health which in turn means the rest of the body is performing as it should. This is because the heart supplies much of the nutrition and oxygen to the cells and tissues that make up every single organ and system within the body (7). This is so that when any one of them stops working the way they should, poor or neglected heart health is often immediately examined as a possible contributor (8).

There are also physiological symptoms that you can be on the lookout for that signal positive heart functioning. A generally healthy heart does not cause sensations of pain or discomfort in the chest, difficulty breathing, being fatigued easily, palpitations or irregular heartbeats. A deficiency in omega-3 for heart health may be a contributing factor in instances when you may experience these symptoms, but it’s always essential that you  consult with your cardiologist for an accurate diagnosis or to address any concerns.

More so, your environment, lifestyle choices, and access to wholesome food, all play a role in building heart health (9). It is important to be tuned into your heart health. Some of the many ways you can keep your ticker healthy include, regularly exercising, avoiding or giving up smoking, sleeping enough, eating well, and by making omega-3 for heart health, a mainstay in your diet (5, 10).

Omega 3 benefits for heart

Omega-3 benefits for the heart

Omega-3 and heart health go together. However omega-3 cannot be produced by the body on its own (1). Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, trout and cod are considered the most potent sources of the nutrient (4). Vegans can turn to certain nuts and seeds for their share of Omega-3.

The most practical way to increase the levels of omega-3 for heart health is by adjusting our diets accordingly to include more of the omega-3-rich foods listed above (6). However, not everyone has regular access to these foods best for omega-3 and heart health due to a variety of reasons. Hence, vegan omega-3 supplementation has become a highly recommended alternative. Despite this supplement being vegan, non-vegans can take the supplement as a healthy complement to a diet that includes animal products (6).

Omega-3 and heart health: The vegan option

Studies have shown that alternative sources such as flaxseed, walnut, algal oil and echium, a flowering plant whose seeds are processed for their oil, are often used to produce vegan omega-3 (14). And, while we now know that omega-3 is mostly present in many fatty fish, these fish actually build up their own reserves of omega-3 by consuming microalgae, from which algal oil is derived (15).

Vitable Australia’s omega-3 for heart health comes in the form of Vegan Omega supplements, that are powered by algal oil, making it the perfect vegan choice.
If you are looking for a vegan-formulated, convenient, and sustainable way to incorporate omega-3 for heart health in your health regimen, Vitable Australia’s Vegan Omega supplements are what you’re looking for. Vitable Australia brings you this supplement via its monthly subscription package. They  help you reach your daily vitamin needs through custom supplements that allow you to purchase only the kinds of supplements you need, and are delivered right to your doorstep. Get your very own personalised vitamin delivery today!

*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

References:

  1. Better Health Channel Content Team. “Dietary fat”. Better Health Channel: Betterhealth.Vic.Gov.Au. Published on https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/fats-and-oils. Accessed December 21, 2021.
  2. Zeratsky, K. “What are MUFAs, and should I include them in my diet?”.  Mayo Clinic: Mayoclinic.Org. Published April 28, 2020 on https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/mufas/faq-20057775. Accessed December 21, 2021.
  3. Medline Plus Content Team. “Facts about polyunsaturated fats”. Medline Plus: Medlineplus.Gov. Published May 26, 2020 on https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000747.htm. Accessed December 21, 2021.
  4. Mayo Clinic Content Team. “Omega-3 in fish: How eating fish helps your heart”. Mayo Clinic: Mayoclinic.Org. Published September 28, 2019 on https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/omega-3/art-20045614. Accessed December 21, 2021.
  5. Cleveland Clinic Content Team. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids”. Cleveland Clinic: My.Clevelandclinic.Org. Published January 2, 2019 on https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17290-omega-3-fatty-acids. Accessed December 21, 2021.
  6. National Institutes of Health Content Team. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids”. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Ods.Od.Nih.Gov. Published November 21, 2018 on https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/. Accessed December 21, 2021.
  7. Health Direct Content Team. “Heart”. Health Direct: Healthdirect.Gov.Au. Published March 3, 2019 on https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/heart. Accessed December 21, 2021.
  8. Government of Western Australia Department of Health Content Team. “How Your Heart Works”. Government of Western Australia Department of Health: Healthywa.Wa.Gov.Au. Published April 18, 2018 on https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/F_I/How-your-heart-works. Accessed December 21, 2021.
  9. Lu, Z., Jiang, H. “Healthy heart, happy life”. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published September 2014 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4248376/. Accessed December 21, 2021.
  10. Mayo Clinic Content Team. “Strategies to prevent heart disease”. Mayo Clinic: Mayoclinic.Org. Published October 26, 2019 on https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/skin-care/art-20048237. Accessed December 21, 2021.
  11. Swanson, D., Block, R., & Mousa, S. A. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA: Health Benefits Throughout Life”. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published January 5, 2012 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3262608/. Accessed December 21, 2021.
  12. Mayo Clinic Content Team. “Triglycerides: Why do they matter?” Mayo Clinic: Mayoclinic.Org. Published on September 29, 2020 on https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/triglycerides/art-20048186. Accessed December 22, 2021.
  13. Taheri, S., Keyvandarian, N., Mortazavi, M., Hosseini, S., & Naini, A. “Effect of Omega-3 fatty acids on blood pressure and serum lipids in continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis patients”. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published July 2015 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4548432/. Accessed December 22, 2021.
  14. Lane, K., Derbyshire, E., Li, W., & Brennan, C. “Bioavailability and Potential Uses of Vegetarian Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A Review of the Literature”. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Pubmed.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published 2014 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24261532/. Accessed December 22, 2021.
  15. Bernstein, A. M., Ding, E. L., Willett, W. C., & Rimm, E. B. “A Meta-Analysis Shows That Docosahexaenoic Acid from Algal Oil Reduces Serum Triglycerides and Increases HDL-Cholesterol and LDL-Cholesterol in Persons without Coronary Heart Disease”. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Pubmed.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published November 23, 2011 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22113870/. Accessed December 22, 2021.