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Yet another health benefit of omega-3 discovered

Scientists have long known that omega-3 fatty acid is one of the most important nutrients. It yields health benefits including lowering your risk for cancer as well as boosting immune function, and now researchers may have added another advantage to the list. A U.S.-based study found that older adults with the highest levels of omega-3 in their blood were 30 percent less likely to develop an irregular heartbeat, Reuters reports.

The findings are especially important given that nearly 90 percent of the population in the United States will have atrial fibrillation, the most common type of irregular heartbeat, by the time they are 80. While it may not be dangerous on its own, the condition can lead to more serious complications including stroke and heart failure.

Omega-3 is often found in fish but can also be ingested through enriched foods and fish oil supplements. At its face, a 30 percent reduced chance may not seem significant, but researchers are quick to answer any doubt.

"A 30 percent lower risk of the most common chronic arrhythmia in the United States population is a pretty big effect," senior author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian told the news agency.

The findings certainly back up other claims of the nutrient regarding heart health. Myriad other studies have shown that it can help lower cholesterol, reduce plaque buildup and blood pressure.

While omega-3 has its advantages, it is not the only food that can improve your cardiovascular well-being. In particular, a 2011 study found that if you substitute nuts for red meat you can lower your risk of experiencing a stroke by 17 percent, The Huffington Post reports. Additionally, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables have proven to yield a number of heart-related benefits. Specifically, blueberries, strawberries and cranberries all have their advantages due to the high levels of beta-carotene, lutein and vitamin C they all offer, according to WebMD.com

There may now be greater emphasis placed on having optimum heart health by way of following a healthy diet given that the president declared February American Heart Month. According to the National Lipid Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

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