Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly called omega-3's, are a group of unsaturated fatty acids that your body needs for many functions. Do you know why they are so important and so different from any other type of fat? It’s because unlike most fats, which your body can make from other fats or from raw materials, your body can’t make Omega-3 fatty acids on its own. The only way to get them is to eat them. Food really is medicine! 14 benefits of omega-3's are listed below, as well as where to find them and how much to be eating.
1. Essential Nutrients
Omega-3 fats cannot be made in the the body, they need to be be consumed in your diet. Sufficient amounts of omega-3's require consuming adequate amounts in your diet to prevent deficiency.
Inflammation is redness, swelling or pain associated with your bodies response to injury or sickness. Autoimune diseases are a result of an inflammatory response in which your body attacks itself. Without the appropriate levels of omega-3's to create prostaglandins, your body's inflammatory response cannot be properly modulated. Omega-3's have been also shown to decrease inflammation of the joints associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
3. Thyroid function
Omega-3's are critical to a healthy thyroid, which produces the hormones that regulate your metabolism and plays an important role in heart health and digestion.
4. Gut and immune system health
As a key commponents of your cell linings, omega-3's help strengthen your gut wall for optimal gut and immune system health
5. Heart Health
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is one form of heart disease that is caused by clogged arteries. Omega-3's have been shown to reduce the risk of dying from CAD and help support a healthy heart rhythm.
6. Reduce the risk of stroke
Ischemic stroke may be reduced as the result of sufficient dietary intake of omega-3's.
7. Improve blood cholesterol profile
Omega-3 intake can decrease levels of triglycerides in the blood as well as increase HDL (good cholesterol)
8. Improved Mood
Cultures that tend to eat a lot of fish report a lower incidence of mood disorders and depression.
9. Enhanced immunity and brain development for babies
One of the reasons breastmilk is so healthful is because of the omega-3's naturally found in breastmilk. Omega 3's also help with brain development of babies before and after birth.
10. Improved sleep
Omega-3's support a good night's sleep for adults and children alike.
11. Reduced risk of Asthma
One study showed that teenage children of women who took fish oil during pregnancy showed a reduced risk of asthma.
12. Help with the treatment of ADHD and autism
13. Reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer's
14. Bone Health
DHA's affect the calcium balance in your body an impacts membrane function. It also plays a role in bone strength.
- For some health conditions, the evidence for benefits from seafood (fish and shellfish) is stronger than the evidence for omega-3 supplements.
- How could this happen? Here are some possibilities:
- Seafood may provide enough omega-3s; more may not be better.
- Other nutrients in seafood besides omega-3s may play a role in its benefits.
- Some of the benefits of seafood may result from people eating it in place of less healthful foods.
- There’s evidence that people who eat seafood have generally healthier lifestyles.
The Federal Government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 recommends that adults eat 8 or more ounces of a variety of seafood (fish or shellfish) per week for the total package of nutrients seafood provides
Sources of Omega-3
If you want to add more omega-3s to your diet, eat more fish. This will give you the biggest dose of EPA and DHA. Choose fish that have the highest amounts of omega-3s, including:
- Sablfish/Black Cod
- Wild salmon.
- Bluefin tuna.
- Lake trout.
- Albacore tuna
How much fish should I eat?
Most adults should eat at least two servings of fish each week. If you have heart disease and don’t eat fish regularly, your healthcare professional may recommend EPA and DHA supplements. Fish oil supplements can interact with some medications, though, so check with your provider before taking them.