CAT | Heart Health
Salt, sugar and unhealthy fats are the staples of the Standard American Diet—and they are taking a serious toll on our country’s health. Our love of heavily processed, high-carbohydrate foods has triggered a nationwide rise in heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and now a new study reveals our immune systems may be in danger too.
Dr. Ian Myles of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recently led a study to determine the impact of a Western diet and lifestyle on immune health. His findings, published in Nutrition Journal, reveal that the way Americans eat may lead to increased inflammation and a significant decline in overall immune function.
According to the study authors, as we continue our poor eating habits over time, they become ingrained in our DNA and could permanently alter the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut—which can weaken our immune systems even more. And this affects not just us but future generations, since research reveals these changes can be passed on to our children.
“Our bodies are a kind of mini-ecosystem, and anything that disturbs our bacteria can alter our health in profound ways,” said Myles. He stressed the need to eliminate processed sugars and unhealthy fats from the diet to support healthy immune function.
Clinical research has shown us that fish-derived Omega-3 fats such as EPA and DHA provide numerous benefits for the human body.‡ In addition to playing an important role in healthy cardiovascular function, Omega-3s support brain health, promote healthy joints, and have even been shown to support optimal digestion.‡ But did you know they also provide key benefits for your eyes?‡
Our bodies undergo many changes as we age, including changes in vision and eye health. However, a new study out of Harvard Medical School shows Omega-3 fatty acids from fish may help protect our eyes by supporting the tiny blood vessels in the retina.‡ This is important because damage to these vessels can affect healthy eyesight.
Researchers found that a diet rich in Omega-3s, such as those found in mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, tuna and salmon, helped protect the blood vessels from damage and supported eye health in elderly adults.‡ In the findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Professor Kip Connor, PhD expressed his optimism about the results, saying, “It is our hope that future studies will allow us to develop specific therapeutics that harness this knowledge, resulting in greater visual outcome and quality of life.”
Dr. Connor recommends including plenty of oily fish in the diet or taking a daily Omega-3 fish oil supplement for eye health as well as the overall benefits.‡ Click here to learn more about the benefits of Omega-3s and what to look for in an effective fish oil supplement.