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Heart Health: New Study Doubts Fish Oil Pills - Now What?

New research says supplements of omega-3 fatty acids may not boost your heart health. Find out what to do next.

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The research on how to keep your heart healthy changes so quickly that it's like trying to catch a fish with your bare hands. And this week, it's fish oil pills—a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids— that are up for debate..

In a review by Greek researchers, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists found that—in spite of the many claims about omega-3 supplements—they don’t actually lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, or death.So what's the deal: Is it time to give up on omega-3 fatty acids entirely?

Not at all, say experts. In spite of the recent study, your body still needs omega-3s to function properly—plus they may still have many benefits for heart and brain health, beyond the scope of what was researched here.

For one, it didn't look at prescription does. And secondly, “it may be that food sources of omega-3, rather than supplements, are a better choice,” David A. Friedman, MD, told WebMD.

So here, some tips to help you navigate the rough waters of omega-3s and your diet:

  • Healthy adults should eat two 3.5-ounce servings of fish a week, according to the American Heart Association. Fish rich in omega-3s include albacore tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines.
  • Bake or grill your fish. Frying can convert omega-3 to omega-6, another fatty acid that we already get enough of in our diet.
  • Add plant-based omega-3 sources to your diet, like soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, and flaxseed (especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan).

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