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Dark Green Vegetables May Help Boost Omega-3 Levels

A recent study suggests that consuming dark green vegetables while taking omega-3s could boost omega-3 levels in red blood cells.

Participants in the study included 83 people of African ancestry. Over the course of six weeks they were given either an omega-3 supplement consisting of 2 g EPA and 1 g DHA or a corn/soybean oil placebo.

The researchers collected information about the participant’s diets via food frequency questionnaires to determine how many dark green vegetables the participants were eating. They also took blood samples to measure omega-3 red blood cell levels. This allowed them to identify participants who responded very well to the supplementation and those who did not.

After performing a secondary analysis, the researchers uncovered an association between dark green vegetable consumption and higher response to omega-3 supplementation. Those who responded very well were found to have greater reductions in triglycerides and VLDL (very-low-density lipoprotein) particle sizes. Large VLDL particles are associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

The researchers were careful to note that the exact mechanism behind this association was unclear. They hypothesized that it could be due to the ability of fruits and vegetables to lower oxidative stress or the influence of high-fiber vegetables on the gut microflora of humans.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on November 20, 2013, in The American Journal of Nutrition.

Higher omega-3 levels are important because omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including alleviating arthritis pain, better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in omega-3s.

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