What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Lately, we have been hearing a lot about omega-3 fatty acids. This is an essential polyunsaturated fat that our body needs to function properly. These omega-3 fatty acids are essential because our body does not make them so we must incorporate these foods into our diet in order to reap all of the outstanding benefits. In fact, there are three different types of Omega-3 fatty acids- ALA, EPA, and DHA. Each type has different health benefits and there are a wide variety of foods that can give us each of these essential fatty acids.
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are very important to us in many ways. These fatty acids are essential because they help our cell membranes function and integrity as well in the production of hormones. EPA a type of omega-3 fatty acid has been shown to be helpful in fighting depression and anxiety. DHA can improve vision. It is a crucial part of the functioning of the brain and retina. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important for women to take during pregnancy because it is necessary for the brain growth and development for the child. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve cognitive function in the brain.
In today’s world, the two major causes of death are heart attacks and strokes. Interestingly enough, scientists have observed that in parts of the world where people have plenty of fish in their diet the prevalence of heart attacks and strokes are much less than those who don’t. This is most likely because those people are getting a sufficient amount of omega-3 fatty acids which have been proven to improve many health issues that lead to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, metabolic disease, and many other diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids help in reducing triglycerides, blood pressure, prevent blood clots, help avoid damage to endothelial walls by preventing the build-up of plaque in the arterials, and can fight inflammation. Studies have shown that heart attack survivors who ingested 1 gram of omega-3 fats daily are less likely to have another heart attack, stroke, or any cardiac death. The essential fatty acids are even shown to prevent cancer. On top of all of these benefits, omega-3 fatty acids are great for your skin! DHA is a major component in the structure of our skin. By consuming omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods we can prevent wrinkles, premature aging, and prevent acne.
Where Do We Get It?
So now that we know omega-3 fatty acids are great for us, the question is where do we get them? Although there are many supplements out there, omega-3 fatty acids can be found in a great variety of tasty foods that we should incorporate into our diet daily!
Oils are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed contains the most omega-3’s per serving, however, canola oil and soybean oil have are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Along with the vegetable oils, fish oils such as sardine, cod liver, and herring oil contain a lot of Omega-3’s. In addition, seafood is a great source of these healthy fatty acids. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating seafood 1-2 times a week in order to reap the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood such as fish roe, smoked fish, oysters, salmon, herring, oysters, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies.
Nuts and seeds such as brazil nuts, sesame seeds, pine nuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, and walnuts are also abundant in omega-3 fatty acids. Adopting a Mediterranean diet is a good way to increase omega-3 fatty acids because it incorporates a lot of healthy oils, fish, and nuts!