THE HEART AND CHOLESTEROL
The heart is a muscle the size of a fist. Its task is to transport blood around the body so that cells and tissues receive oxygen and nutrients.
Cholesterol is a type of blood fat known as lipids. The lipids are used as building blocks in cell walls, in hormones, in vitamin D production and to transport fat in the blood. Cholesterol comes from two sources. It is either produced in the liver or comes from foods derived from animals. Two common forms of cholesterol are LDL, also called “the bad cholesterol”, and HDL, known as “the good cholesterol”.
The good and the bad cholesterol
The good cholesterol transports fat from the blood vessels and helps to reduce the risk of fat accumulation in the arteries. The bad cholesterol brings fat to your arteries, where it may build up in the artery walls. This causes the blood vessels to get narrower and may reduce blood flow. When a person has what we call high cholesterol it means that the blood contains high amounts of fat. High blood cholesterol levels are an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This is a major public health issue.
Diet for a healthy heart
Your diet has a major impact on your health. The rule of thumb is to eat a varied and well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, high fibre foods, fish, light meats and healthy fats from plants and fish.
Fish, especially the semi-fat and fatty fish types, are the main source of the healthy fats, the marine omega-3 fatty acids, in the diet. Our products are made from cod. Although cod is considered a lean fish species, the liver contains a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil is therefore another important source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Research shows that fish are especially good for the heart. The Norwegian National Association for Heart and Lung Disease (LHL) recommends omega-3 because it may benefit the heart’s activity and have a positive impact on the fat composition in the blood. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recognizes the importance of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. EFSA recommends a daily intake of 250 mg of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA for adults to help maintain the normal functions of a healthy heart.
The Norwegian Directorate of Health – dietary advice
The Norwegian Directorate of Health’s recommendation for fish consumption is 2-3 fish meals per week (300-450g of pure fish). At least one of these meals should include fatty fish types. The advice is based on national and international research, which show evidence that consumption of fish and the polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA can reduce the risk of death from heart disease.