7 Reasons To Love Omega-3s And How They Benefit Your Health
You’ve probably already heard about Omega 3 fatty acids. But what are they? And what health benefits do they offer?
Let’s get started answering these questions!
Omega 3-s are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Your body can’t produce them on its own, you have to get them from your diet.
But do you really need them? Yes you do! Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial nutrients for your overall health. From an unborn baby and throughout life, your body and brain need Omega-3s to function properly.
There are actually not many other nutrients that are packed with so many positive health benefits as Omega-3s. Here are some of them:
7 Health & Anti-Aging Benefits of Omega 3-s
#1: Reduce Inflammation:
In case you don’t know, the root cause of many diseases is chronic inflammation. Additionally, chronic inflammation speeds up the aging process. So reducing inflammation is one of the most important Omega-3 benefit.
According to this study, Omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease system-wide inflammation.
Therefore, if you eat a nutrient-dense diet that includes Omega-3 fatty acids, your body will be able to better fight inflammation, aging and diseases.
#2: Healthy Skin
It’s natural that as you age, your skin loses elasticity and you start noticing the first lines and wrinkles.
After all, your body isn’t able to produce such a high amount of collagen as it used to produce when you were in your 20s. However, when you have a diet rich in Omega-3s, you’ll notice its anti-aging effects on your skin!
Moreover, DHA and EPA, the two most important components of Omega 3-s, help your skin managing oil production. This may help to prevent or improve acne and other skin issues caused by inflammation of the skin.
#3: Help Fight Mental Disorders And Decline
People suffering from conditions related to brain and mental health may also benefit from Omega 3-s. Some of the mental disorders and decline that Omega 3-s may help to improve include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Alzheimer’s and age-related mental decline
- Bipolar disease
#4: Preventing And Managing Autoimmune Diseases
The one thing that autoimmune diseases have in common is that the immune system attacks healthy cells. This occurs when the immune system fails to identify healthy cells, but instead sees them as intruders.
According to multiple studies, Omega 3-s can help not only to prevent the appearance of autoimmune diseases, but also improve or relief some of the symptoms.
#5: Heart Health
One of the most well-known Omega-3 benefit is related to heart health.
And this benefit is really important since heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
Omega 3-s can lower high triglycerides, raise HDL (good) cholesterol, lower high blood pressure, prevent plaque buildup, reduce metabolic syndrome symptoms and prevent blood clots.
This is an excerpt from a study published online September 30, 2019 in the Journal of the American Heart Association:
“People who received omega-3 fish oil supplements in randomized clinical trials had lower risks of heart attack and other cardiovascular disease (CVD) events compared with those who were given placebo, according to a new meta-analysis from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Researchers found an association between daily omega-3 supplementation and reduced risk of most CVD outcomes, including heart attack, death from coronary heart disease, and death from CVD, but did not see benefit for stroke. In addition, higher doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements appeared to provide even greater risk reduction.” via www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/
#6 Healthy Aging
Omega-3s support healthy aging in several ways. It’s already mentioned how they can support heart health and younger looking skin.
In addition to that, they may also support your memory, healthy bones and joints, healthy vision and lower the risk of macular degeneration of your eyes.
There is also interesting research suggesting that Omega-3 supplements may slow a key biological process linked to aging, namely the shortening of telomeres.
#7 Promote Brain Health During Pregnancy and Early Life
Omega-3s are essential for your health in all stages of life, even for unborn babies.
Therefore, if you’re pregnant or plan to get pregnant, it’s really important to get enough Omega-3s, since there are several benefits linked to that, such as:
- Higher intelligence
- Better communication and social skills
- Fewer behavioral problems
- Decreased risk of developmental delay
- Decreased risk of ADHD, autism and cerebral palsy
- Critical building blocks of fetal brain and retina
What you should eat to get plenty of Omega 3-s
My guess is that you by now are pretty convinced that Omega-3s are important for your health?!
You may wonder though: “What should I eat to get plenty of them?”
Since your body can’t produce Omega-3s on its own, you need to search for these fatty acids in the food you eat.
Fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel and sardines, is the best source of Omega-3s. If you eat good quality fish at least twice per week, that should be enough. Unless you have a health condition that you think may improve with a larger dose of Omega-3s.
And how much Omega-3s do you need? This is a recommendation from Healthline:
“Although recommendations can vary widely, most health organizations recommend an intake of at least 250–500 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA, the two essential forms of omega-3 fatty acids, per day.
However, a higher amount is often recommended for people with certain health conditions, such as heart disease or high triglyceride levels.”
What if you don’t like fish or you’re a vegan?
If you don’t like fish, or if you’re a vegan, what other foods are good sources of Omega-3s?
To start with, Omega-3 contain several different types of fatty acids. The three main types are DHA, EPA and ALA:
- DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid): The most potent and vital fatty acid in Omega-3 is DHA. It can make a real difference to your health. You get DHA mainly from animal products like fatty fish, fish oil and krill oil. Meat, eggs and dairy from grass-fed animals also contain significant amounts. Vegetarians and vegans often lack DHA. So a good solution to this is to take a microalgae supplement. Algae oil is an excellent DHA source.
- EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid): EPA is the “second” most important Omega-3 fat your body and brain need. It has several important functions, and it seems to be the best Omega fat for skin health and fighting depression. EPA is also mainly found in animal products, such as fatty fish, fish oil and krill oil. Some microalgae also contain EPA.
- ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid): This is the most common omega in food, and you mainly use it for energy. It can be converted into EPA and DHA, but only a small percentage of ALA is converted since the process is inefficient. ALA is found in foods like green, leafy vegetables, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and soybeans.
Important: You must have the right balance of Omega-3s and Omega-6s
For optimal health support and disease prevention, your body also needs Omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-6s are found in vegetable oils, safflower oils, meat, poultry and eggs. They come in some form of linoleic acid.
The key is to consume the right balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. The right balance is at about a 1:1 to 4:1 ratio Omega-6s to Omega-3s.
This ratio will keep inflammation low. The problem today though with most modern diets is that they have a ratio closer to 10:1 or even 20:1 Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids.
So what are the risks of consuming too little Omega-3s and too many Omega-6s?
- Higher risk for heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Digestive disorders
- Allergies and Asthma
- Joint and muscle pain
- Mental disorders like depression
- Poor brain development
- Cognitive decline
Many people are deficient in Omega-3s
Since most people get more than enough of Omega-6s from their diet, it’s essential to consume more of Omega-3s to keep the balance.
As explained, Omega-3s offer many desirable benefits, and may also help to prevent some diseases. Moreover, they may help improve health conditions.
The problem though, for most people, is to get enough Omega-3s. You need quite high quantities of DHA and EPA to achieve the benefits.
And even if you eat fish 2-3 times a week, there’s the problem with polluted water. Water pollution harms and contaminates the fish. Therfore, you must choose what fish you eat carefully.
Another source than food to get Omega-3s is nutritional supplements. There are lots of supplements promising high quantities of Omega-3s, so that could be a good solution?
It can be, but the problem with supplements is that many of them are useless and may even be harmful…
If you’re interested to know why many Omega-3 supplements are useless, and how you can get high quality Omega-3s that can benefit your health, click here:
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