7 Things To Know About Omega-3 Fatty Acids


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Omega-3 fatty acids are very important and are needed by the body. They usually occur in different forms: DHA(Docosahexaenoic acid), ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentanoic acid). The ALA fatty acid is an essential fatty acid, that being said, DHA AND EPA have much more health benefits. DHA and EPA are the types of Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish eg Tuna, mackerel, eggs, herring, halibut, anchovies. while the ALA Omega-3 fatty acid is found in dark-green leafy vegetables eg Spinach, chia seeds broccoli, canola oil, flaxseed, soy bean and walnut. Omega-3 fatty acids provides a lot of health benefits, it protects you against a lot of diseases and reduces your risk for cardiovascular diseases. It is recommended by The World Health Organisation to eat 1-2 portions of fish per week. The diet we eat these days has less Omega-3s and more Omega-6. This imbalance increases your risks for a lot of diseases. This emphasizes the importance of Omega-3s, here are the most common importance of Omega-3s

1. It improves Hear Health: Omega-3 fatty acids increase the body’s good cholesterol (HDL) and lower triglycerides which are the fats found in your blood. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the pace in which plaques build up. Some Plaque usually block arteries and this can cause different heart conditions like Cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). Omega-3 stabilises the heart and prevents Cardiac arrhythmia. The American heart association recommends: 1 gram of EPA per day for people living with heart disease. Studies have shown that fewer deaths occur in people who have survived heart attack and heart disease that increase their omega-3 intake.

2. It improves eye health: DHA(mentioned above) is a major component of the retina in the eye. A deficiency in DHA may lead to vision problems. DHA may help prevent the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness: Macular Degeneration. Eating fish has shown to be more effective in preventing vision impairment than taking supplement.

3. It improves mental health: Omega-3 fatty acids are important in brain functioning. It makes up most of the brain, hence its effect in proper brain functioning. Studies have shown that people that have some mental disorders have lower blood omega-3 levels. This is also the effect in people living with depression, people living with depression have shown to have lower blood Omega-3 levels. Omega-3 has also shown to have effect in preventing or improving depression. Supplements higher in EPA are known to be more effective in preventing or improving depression. Omega-3 fatty acids have also proven to be effective in reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease as you age. People who consume more fish have lower mental decline during their older years.

4. It helps in development of the fetus during pregnancy: Omega-3 fatty acids are vital in the development of the fetus, Omega-3 has shown effect in improving visual development, brain development, hand-eye coordination, and reduce risk of allergies. This makes it important for pregnant and breast feeding women to consume adequate amount of omega-3 during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Children with enough Omega 3 have proven to have better eye sight, be more intelligent and have decreased risk of cerebral palsy, ADHD and autism. That being said, most pregnant women prefer to take Omega 3 supplement than to eat fish portions because of the popular risk of mercury toxicity

5. It may aid in ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which involves a child being hyperactive and less attentive. This happens during early life, the brain is still developing at this stage. Omega-3 is essential for brain growth and development, it makes up most of the brain therefore adequate intake of omega 3 is required to be able to prevent behavioural diseases like ADHD.

6. It helps to improve skin health: As we grow older, your skin health declines. This is also the effect of too much exposure of the skin to the sun. The skin, the largest organ in the body, contains a lot of omega-3s. Omega-3s may help prevent the early signs of aging and help to keep your skin healthy even when exposed to too much sun. It helps to keep your skin hydrated, regulate oil production and also reduce your risk of getting acne. Omega-3 has also shown to be effective in easing symptoms of some skin diseases like psoriasis.

How to get adequate omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 is mostly found in fish, but be careful while eating fish, especially if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, breastfeeding or you eat with kids. Fish like tile-fish, king mackerel, sword fish., albacore, have high mercury in them which can cause mercury toxicity especially albacore. So it is important for you to choose fish lower in mercury like: tilapia, catfish, cod, tuna (light canned), salmon, shrimp, Pollock etc

The FDA recommends pregnant women, women planning to become pregnant, nursing women and children to :
– Eat 8-12 ounces of fish per week, which is equal to 2-3 servings a week. Provide kids with age-appropriate portion sizes.
– Keep albacore tuna at a limit of 6 ounces per week.
– Choose fish lower in mercury ( like the fish mentioned above) avoid fish higher in mercury (as mentioned above)
– When eating fish caught locally, limit fish to 6 ounces in women and 1-3 ounces in children.

Omega-3 supplement: some people don’t like fish, -for different reasons. That’s okay, you can get Omega-3 supplement. There are a lot on the market to choose from but we made a choice for you: This one from Nordic naturals, doesn’t give you a fish after taste like the other ones on the market. It is even lemon flavoured and one of the best selling Omega3 supplement on Amazon. But, before you start using supplement, ask your doctor.

Vegetarian sources of Omega-3s: If you are a vegetarian, you can get DHA from commercially grown Algae. Be careful, blue-green algae can contain toxins. As a vegetarian, you can get ALA from Omega-3 fortified food products or from other foods like high quality walnut, spinach, flaxseed oil, Chia seeds (especially the organic ones) or canola oil. They are all available on Amazon.com

Again, be careful, foods products that are said to be fortified by Omega-3 may not contain that much omega-3 or may just contain ALA not DHA or EPA which have healthier benefits. So, a better alternative to eating fish will be Omega-3 supplements.

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