Still smoking? This nutrient may help counter the risk

If you haven't given up smoking, you can at least take steps to protect your heart.

As we've discussed in past posts, giving up nicotine is one of the most transformative steps you can take to promote your overall aging longevity and reduce your risk of serious health concerns including heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. The American Heart Association has listed "quit smoking" among its seven healthy lifestyle factors, due to the damage this habit can wreak on the heart and blood vessels.

But, on this rare occasion, there is actually a bit of good news for smokers. According to a team of researchers from Athens in Greece, people who haven't shaken the habit but are otherwise healthy may be able to counteract at least some of the damage smoking can inflict upon their heart health and aging longevity.

The study abstract, which was published in the June edition of the International Journal of Cardiology, states that scientists sought to see if omega-3 fatty acids – the compounds found in fish and certain produce – could improve arterial function after "smoking-induced impairment."

They ultimately discovered that men and women who regularly consumed omega-3 fatty did enjoy some benefits in terms of heart health.

"These findings suggest that omega-3 [polyunsaturated fatty acids] inhibit the detrimental effects of smoking on vascular endothelium. The cardioprotective effects of omega-3 […] appear to be due not through a single mode of action but to a synergism between multiple, intricate mechanisms involv[ing] anti-inflammatory and anti-atherosclerotic effects," the study abstract notes.

While this isn't license for smokers to keep up this habit without a thought to its impact on their health, it is promising news for those who are more susceptible to serious health complications because of their past penchant for nicotine.

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