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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Are you Grilling a Salmon? Why not Increase your Omega-3 Status?

By Michael McBurney

For our Canadian readers, Happy Canada Day! Enjoy a day of celebrations. National celebrations are associated with special activities – parades, fireworks, and barbecues with family and friends. There may even be birthday cake. Everything can be tasted and savored. July 1 is a special day soon to be followed by the Fourth of July!

Health is a long-term goal requiring a regular diet supplying essential nutrients. Our plates should be sprinkled with nutrition – some fruit to provide vitamin C, kale rich in folate, carrots for carotenoids (beta-carotene is a source of vitamin A), milk with vitamin D and calcium, and a protein source for essential amino acids. Pureeing and adding vegetables to entrees can increase vegetable intake in kids. The strategy also works for adults!

Thousands of studies associate diets high in polyunsaturated fats and low in trans fats with heart health benefits.  Plasma concentrations of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), affect risk of stroke and hypertension (Huang et al, 2012). Inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease, may be exacerbated by suboptimal omega-3 fatty acid concentrations. In a group of 180 French Polynesian adults, DHA and EPA concentrations in red blood cells (RBC) membranes were measured along with resting heart rate and blood pressure. Higher DHA concentrations in RBC membranes were associated with lower blood pressure and resting heart rate.

Ultimately, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids must be consumed to improve our nutritional status. Our bodies are not very effective in converting α-linolenic acid to EPA and DHA (Burns-Whitmore et al, 2014).

Make healthy choices a habit. Try putting a salmon on the grill. Enjoy the parades and fireworks!

Main Citation

Valera B, Suhas E, Counil E, Poirier P, Dewailly E. Influence of polyunsaturated fatty acids on blood pressure, resting heart rate and heart rate variability among French Polynesians. 2104 J Am Coll Nutr doi: 10.1080/0731572.2013.874913

Other Citations

Spill MK, Birch LL, Roe LS, Rolls BJ. Hiding vegetables to reduce energy density : an effective strategy to Increase children’s vegetable intake and reduce energy density. 2011 AJCN doi: 10.3945/111.015206

Blatt AD, Roe LS, Rolls BJ. Hidden vegetables: an effective strategy to reduce energy intake and increase vegetable intake in adults. 2011 AJCN doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.009332

Huang T, Tucker K, Lee Y, Crott J, Parnell L, Shen J, Smith C, Ordovas J, Li D, Lai C. MAT1A variants modulate the effect of dietary fatty acids on plasma homocysteine concentrations. 2012 Nutr Metab and CVD doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2010.07.015

Burns-Whitmore B, Haddad E, Sabate J, Rajaram S. Effects of supplementing n-3 fatty acid enriched eggs and walnuts on cardiovascular disease risk markers in healthy free-living lacto-ovo-vegetarians: a randomized, crossover, free-living intervention study. 2014 Nutr J doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-29