Fat is bad. That’s a general comment that’s not absolutely correct, because there are “good fats” too. Like Omega 3 fatty acids. Two of them, known by their popular acronyms EPA and DHA, are found in some types of fish. ALA is a plant form of omega 3 fatty acid. Nuts and seeds are rich sources of ALA.
Fatty acids are necessary for your body to function normally. In addition, supplements of omega 3 fatty acids can boost your health in many ways. These forms (ALA, EPA and DHA) are called “essential fatty acids” because they are not manufactured inside your body and must be ingested in your daily diet.
How Do Omega 3 Boost Your Health?
1. Raised levels of triglycerides (unhealthy fat) are brought down by fish oil supplements rich in omega 3. High blood levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides have several health risks including heart disease. DHA is highly effective in bringing down blood levels of bad fats.
2. Joint problems like rheumatoid arthritis are relieved by omega 3 supplements, relieving pain and stiffness among long-time sufferers. They work in synergy with anti-inflammatory medicines that are regularly prescribed for arthritis, enhancing their relieving effects as well.
3. The incidence of clinical depression has been found to be lower in communities that have a high intake of food rich in omega 3 fatty acids. This effect has been confirmed by trials using omega 3 supplements as well. Fish oil itself acts as an anti-depressant and increases the impact of drugs for this condition.
4. Fetal development is more likely to be normal when omega 3 levels are normal. DHA is vital for eye and brain development in newborns and infants.
5. Neurological disorders like dementia have been found to be partially alleviated by omega 3 fatty acid supplementation. Memory loss can be averted or reduced and aging-related changes in the brain are stalled or reversed by fish oil supplements.
6. Attention deficit disorder in children has also been found to be mitigated by fish oil omega-3 supplements, but this association is by no means strong enough to consider it as an effective treatment.
7. Lung conditions like bronchial asthma can be improved by omega-3s because of a general anti-inflammatory effect that lowers the release of chemicals that cause airway narrowing.
Can Omega 3 In Diet Meet Your Daily Requirements?
There are some kinds of food that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and those cultures which consume enough of them in the course of their regular eating habits can comfortably meet their daily needs through food without requiring supplementation.
Foods rich in omega-3s include herring, mackerel, anchovies, wild salmon, sardines, lake trout and tuna. If you eat fish rich in omega 3 at least twice or thrice in a week, you will meet your needs. The only downside to eating so much fish is the likelihood of contamination of the fish by PCB, heavy metals like mercury, and toxins.
ALA is found in plant sources like walnuts, flax seed, canola oil, olive oil and soyabean oil. When planning your diet to contain enough omega-3, don’t ignore the other caloric and nutrient impact of the foods you eat. Oils are rich in other saturated fats which are not good for your health. Nuts contain many calories, and if you eat a lot of them, you could end up gaining too much weight.
How Does Omega 3 Improve Health?
These polyunsaturated fatty acids are necessary for blood clotting and brain cell protection. In addition, omega-3 protects you against strokes and heart disease.
Anti-cancer effects are being uncovered by recent research and the role of omega 3 fatty acids in inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune disorders predicts more potential in improving health in the future.
Both forms – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – have health benefits and are fortunately found together in many food sources including fish. A daily serving of salmon or a tablespoonful of soyabean oil or canola oil in your food will meet your requirements comfortably.
Who Needs Omega 3 Supplements?
It is preferable to get all your omega 3 through your diet. Plants and foods that are rich in omega-3 also have other nutrients that are good for you. But those who do not eat fish and can’t take other omega-3 rich foods can ensure a daily intake of these vital ingredients in the form of a supplement.
A capsule that provides 500 mg per day of omega-3 is sufficient in most cases. Most supplements are made from fish oil but there are vegetarian options also which contain ALA.
Under special circumstances, the daily requirement may be higher. For example, people who have heart disease or have already had a heart attack may take twice the regular dose of omega-3 supplements. It is always good to consult your medical practitioner before changing supplement dosage.
Omega 3 fatty acids have so many health advantages that they are justifiably referred to as “Superfoods”. Ensuring that you get your daily dose of omega 3 in diet or through supplements can transform your health significantly.