February is American Heart Month, and not in the Valentine’s Day sense. Certainly it capitalizes on the festivities surrounding cupid’s designated day, but organizations like the American Heart Association and the CDC want to remind us that heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States.
At the top of the list for heart disease prevention is diet and exercise. While movement is important, and most Americans have access to outdoor parks and walkways where they can raise their heart rate with a brisk walk or jog, it is becoming increasingly harder to obtain the essential nutrients we need in the staples of the American diet.
In spite of faddish low-fat diets, studies have shown that our bodies need to ingest healthy fats. Once thought to increase cholesterol, healthy fats have been proven to actually reduce bad cholesterol and contribute to the overall health of the body. Unsaturated and monounsaturated fats are those most recommended for healthy human consumption.
Emu oil, processed from the fatty stores of the emu bird, has been found to have dietary benefits in addition to the curative benefits of topical applications. Auburn University did a study on emu oil to determine the fatty composition of emu oil in order to help explain the properties and therefore the benefits of emu oil.
They found that 70% of the fatty acids in emu oil were unsaturated, which is in line with current recommendations for a “heart healthy” diet. Having been found to contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, the oil of the emu is gaining stature in the market of health supplements. While the emu oil does not support high heats, and is therefore not recommended for use as cooking oil, it can be used cold in a salad dressing or added to a smoothie. Emu oil dietary supplements in gel caps are also widely available for convenience.