Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids Good For You
Omega-3 fatty acids are highly essential for our overall health. They are present in foods and dietary pills. They also have an active role in our proper metabolic functioning. There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acid; alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
ALA is rich in plant oils, like flaxseeds and walnuts. DHA and EPA are most abundant in cold-water fatty fish, like trout mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines. Your body may change small amounts of ALA into DHA and EPA. From the view of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), a large number of individuals in the USA get enough ALA in their food source.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These are a kind of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are present in food. These are essential fatty acids (EFAs) as your body can not synthesize these fatty acids. Two important kinds of omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA. These two forms of omega-3s are present in fish.
Plants like nuts and seeds have another form of omega-3 fatty acids, ALA(alpha-linolenic acid). These fatty acids are much needed for the proper functioning of the body.
The Importance of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Improvement of Brain Health
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for proper brain growth and development in infants. DHA comprises 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in your brain and almost 50% in the retina of your eye. That is why infants who are given DHA-fortified formula have excellent eyesight. If a pregnant woman takes the right amount of omega-s, her child will have numerous health benefits such as,
- Better communication skills
- Fewer behavioral problems
- Higher intelligence
- Minimum risk of developmental delay
- Decreased risk of ADHD, autism and cerebral palsy
- Fight against Inflammation
Inflammation occurs as a result of infection or injury. In this way, it is crucial and necessary for the body.
Sometimes inflammation remains for a long time without any infection. This type of inflammation is called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can be the cause of heart diseases and cancer.
To fight this problem, you have omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease the generation of those compounds that can cause inflammation, such as inflammatory cytokines and eicosanoids.
Studies prove this fact that more intakes of omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation.
- Cure of Depression
Researchers say that people with high levels of omega-3s have a decreased level of depression. Therefore it may be suggested that one should take these fatty acids to treat depression and other mood disorders. It is believed that omega-3 fatty acids can easily cross the brain cell membrane and affect the brain's mood-related substances. Due to their anti-inflammatory property, they can cure depression.
- Weight Loss
A person with a BMI (body mass index) of more than 30 is obese. Almost 40% of adults are overweight, while 15% are obese.
Obesity can cause numerous health problems like cancer, heart diseases, and type 2 diabetes.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help to improve health and decrease the risk of heart diseases in obese people.
Some studies show that omega-3 fatty acids, along with proper diet and workout, can help to reduce weight.
- Healthy Skin
Skin is the largest organ of your body. It has an abundant quantity of omega-3 fatty acids. Skin health can be affected by too much exposure to the sun but more specifically with old-age. Taking omega-3 fatty acids can prevent several skin problems such as dermatitis and psoriasis.
Studies say that psoriasis can be due to a reduced amount of DHA and EPA.
Omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce the symptoms of eczema. This is because these fatty acids fight the cause of eczema, leukotriene B4.
- Cardiovascular Disorders
It has been seen that omega-3 fatty acids can prevent cardiac arrhythmias and many other coronary heart diseases. They can treat hypertension and hyperlipidemia.
These fatty acids can lower the triglyceride level in your body. People with greater levels of triglycerides are at higher risk of heart disorders such as heart attacks.
- Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome consists of many disorders like central obesity, hypertension, and insulin resistance.
It is a significant health issue as it causes so many other issues, such as diabetes and heart problems.
Omega-3 fatty acids can treat insulin resistance and other symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
- Autoimmune Disorders
In autoimmune disorders, your immune system kills healthy cells of your body. Type 1 diabetes is an essential example in which insulin-producing cells are affected. Omega-3 fatty acids can treat many such disorders, especially during early life.
These fatty acids can cure ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, and psoriasis.
- Bone Health
Osteoporosis and arthritis are common disorders of the skeletal system.
Researches show that omega-s plays a vital role in maintaining bone health by increasing calcium levels in bones. Therefore it minimizes the risk of osteoporosis.
These fatty acids can also cure arthritis. Intake of omega-3 fatty acids results in a reduction in joint pain and better grip strength.
Food Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These fatty acids can be obtained from both fish and vegetables.
- Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are the rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, primarily ALA. They also have a high level of protein and fiber.
They have almost 6.709 g of ALA per tablespoon.
- Soybean Oil
This is an essential source of ALA with 0.924 g of ALA in each tablespoon.
Walnuts have 3.35 g of ALA per cup.
These nuts not only have ALA but also contain many other healthful fats.
- Kidney Beans
Kidney beans comprise of 0.10 g of ALA in half-cup.
Only half a cup of frozen edamame has almost 0.29 g of ALA.
These are highly famous in Japan.
Following are the best sources of omega-3s;
Salmon is a highly nutritious type of fish. It is one of the best sources of omega-3s.
Oyster is enriched with all 3 significant kinds of omega-3s.
It also has a delicious taste.
One serving has:
- 0.31 g of EPA
- 0.14 g of ALA
- 0.23 g of DHA
It is a small fish usually eaten in breakfast.
It has following omega-3s per serving
- 0.43 g of EPA
- 0.59 g of DHA
Seabass is a famous Japanese fish.
Each serving of Seabass has following omega-3s
- 0.18 g of EPA
- 0.47 g of DHA
These are tiny, oily fish. You can get it in cans. It serves as a tasty snack.
Canned sardines have:
- 0.45 g of EPA
- 0.75 g of DHA
This is much nutritious and healthy fish.
Per serving the following fatty acids are present:
- 0.44 g of DHA
- 0.40 g of EPA
People with a deficiency of these essential fatty acids can take it in the form of supplements to have good health. Those people who are suffering from severe inflammation may also take these supplements.
Following are the kinds of these supplements
Cod liver oil has a large quantity of EPA and DHA.
It is also a source of omega-3s for people.
It is the most critical supplement of omega-3s. It provides the most considerable amount of omega-3s among all the supplements. It has both DHA and EPA.
It has both EPA and DHA.
Chia, hemp seed, and flaxseed supplements only have ALA to add along with other supplements in the diet. The level of omega-3s in each of the above supplements mainly depends on the specific brand.