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A New Way to Boost Omega-3 Levels (Hint: It's Got Nothing to do With Fish)

A study set to be published in the January 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that wine may increase the level of omega-3 fatty acids in blood cells.

The findings were part of a large scale international study funded by the European Union called IMMIDIET. The main goal of the study was to identify the relationship between genetics, lifestyle and cardiovascular health.

Researchers recruited 802 couples from Italy, Belgium and England for the study. Participants were between the ages of 26 and 65. Each underwent a comprehensive medical examination and completed a food-frequency questionnaire to evaluate dietary intake.

The researchers found that people who drank moderate amounts of alcohol (1 drink per day for women, 2 drinks for men) had higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Based on the food frequency questionnaire, they observed that the results seemed to be independent of fish consumption, which generally boost omega-3 levels.

Then, researchers from University of Grenoble, in France, analyzed the types of alcoholic beverages being consumed by participants. In doing so, they were able to determine that wine increased omega-3levels more than other types of alcohol

According to the researchers, these results are likely the result of naturally occurring compounds found in wine called polyphenols. The strong antioxidant properties of these compounds allow them to decrease oxidation processes in the body by neutralizing destructive free radicals.

That means they could also help prevent the oxidation of omega-3s inside the body, so more of the heart healthy fatty acids get into your cells.

Research is building that shows it is not necessarily fat and lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides) that cause heart health problems, but the oxidation of them.

To fight free radicals and reduce your risk of dangerous diseases, try to get more antioxidants in your diet. CoQ10 (in the form of ubiquinol), vitamin E and a red wine extract called resveratrol have all shown promise in fighting free radicals and preventing oxidation.
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