Omega-3 Fatty Acids
When diet conscious people hear the term “fats”, their first reaction is to avoid that food altogether. Well, you need to understand that not all fats are harmful to the body and hence not all fats should be cut back on. In fact, few fats like Omega-3 Fatty acids are incredibly useful for the body and mind.
What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential class of fatty acids required by the human body. Usually, the human body can produce the fats required by the body from fats or other raw materials. But, this is not applicable for Omega-3 fatty acids as they cannot be produced within the body. As the body cannot make them from scratch, it is important to procure them from food. Each cell in the body is surrounded by a membrane and Omega-3 are important components of this membrane.
There are 3 types of Omega-3 fatty acids –
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
EPA and DHA are mainly found in fish oil; therefore they are also known as marine Omega-3 Fatty Acids. ALA is found in nuts, vegetable oils, leafy vegetables and more.
Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
To make sure that your body has a regular source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, you need to know foods that include this essential nutrient. Omega-3 fatty acids are water soluble so it needs to be absorbed into the bloodstream. There are plenty of delicious foods that are also naturally rich in Omega-3 fatty acids including –
- Flaxseed oil and flaxseed
- Canola oil
- Chia seeds
- Fishes especially Salmon and Mackerel
- Fish oil
- Krill Oil
- Wild rice
- Dairy foods from grass-fed cows, goats and more
If you are facing Omega-3 deficiency, you can also opt for Omega-3 supplements available in the market. Similarly, a large number of products available in the supermarket also emphasize on high omega-3 content. Usually, omega-3 fatty acids are artificially added to processed foods like fortified cereals, protein powders, peanut butter and more. Make sure you read the ingredients and nutritional value food label of the product before purchasing it. Nowadays, omega-3 is added to animal feed to increase the level of omega-3 in meat, dairy and poultry products.
Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Deficiency of Omega-3 can be very risky for the body. They provide polyunsaturated fatty acids and among the good fats for the human body. Consuming less Omega-3 can result in digestive disorders, inflammation, poor brain development and chronic diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids can benefit the body in following ways –
- It helps in lowering the level of triglycerides in the body and reduces the risk of heart diseases.
- Omega-3 supplements have known to improve the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs, thus helping patients suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- It helps in maintaining cardiovascular health by lowering plaque buildup and blood pressure.
- It stabilizes blood sugar levels and helps to prevent diabetes.
- It helps in improving condition of skin and hair.
- It prevents depression by improving mood.
- Lowers inflammation and helps reduce joint and bone pain.
- It helps in reducing risk of cancer as well as prevents reoccurrence of cancer
- It helps in boosting immunity of the body.
- It improves the function of blood vessels.
- It is important for the development of neurological and visual development in small babies and infants.
- It reduces anxiety, nervousness, and constant worry.
- Breakdown of Omega-3 provides calories that provide energy to the body.
- Research shows that people who consume fish oil as a source of Omega-3 have a lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases.
- Risks of age-related degradation like muscle or vision loss can be lowered with consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids.
To maximize the benefits of Omega-3 in your body, it is important that they are transported and absorbed properly in the body. Whether you follow a vegetarian, vegan or a non-vegetarian diet, you need to ensure that omega-3 is a part of your daily diet. With powerful benefits for brain and body, you surely cannot miss out on this essential nutrient!