Omega-3 fatty acids! why and how

Do you know how to get 11 disease-fighting, health-boosting benefits from one delicious-tasting food?

Put fresh fish on your weekly grocery list.. because, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

When it comes to fat, there’s one type you don’t want to cut back on: omega-3 fatty acids. Two crucial ones — EPA and DHA — are primarily found in certain fish. ALA, another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. Because essential fatty acids (ALA, DHA, EPA) are not made in the body, you need to get them from your diet.

About three 3 oz. servings a week of omega-3-rich fishes like salmon or trout should do the trick.

But why Omega 3s?

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Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but also they deliver some big health benefits.

  • Blood fat (triglycerides). Fish oil or supplements can lower elevated triglyceride levels. Having high levels of this blood fat puts you at risk for heart disease. DHA alone has also been shown to lower triglycerides.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Fish oil or supplements (EPA+DHA) can curb stiffness and joint pain. Omega-3 supplements also seem to boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Depression. Some researchers have found that cultures that eat foods with high levels of omega-3s have lower levels of depression. Fish oil also seems to boost the effects of antidepressants and may help the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder.
  • Baby development. DHA appears to be important for visual and neurological development in infants.
  • Asthma. A diet high in omega-3s lowers inflammation, a key component in asthma. But more studies are needed to show if fish oil supplements improve lung function or cut the amount of medication a person needs to control the condition.
  • ADHD. Some studies show that fish oil can reduce the symptoms of ADHD in some children and improve their mental skills, like thinking, remembering, and learning. But more research is needed in this area, and omega-3 supplements should not be used as a primary treatment.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Some research suggests that omega-3s may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and have a positive effect on gradual memory loss linked to aging. But that’s not certain yet.

There’s more. Omega-3s can also do the following:

  • Lubricate muscles
  • Promote fertility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Protect vision
  • Promote weight loss
  • Enhance mood

How to Get Omega 3s in your diet?

When possible, try to get omega-3 fatty acids from foods rather than supplements. Aim to eat fish high in DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids two to three times a week.

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Not a fan of fish? Or a vegetarian? Or vegan?

Opt for omega-3-rich avocados and walnuts, or take 900 milligrams of an omega-3 supplement (more on that later).

Foods rich in Omega 3 are:

  • anchovies
  • Fishes like, bluefish, herring, mackerel, salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed), Sardines, lake trout, tuna
  • Flax seeds
  • chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Oils like, olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil

Caution: While foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have health benefits, some — like oils and nuts — can be high in calories. So eat them in moderation.

A Better Supplement Option

Speaking of supplements, we can choose algae-based omega-3 supplements. We like them because they avoid the potential toxins, such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, that can be found in fish-derived oils. They also deliver plenty of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — one form of omega-3 that readily converts into the other: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

So, nothing fishy here. It’s plain and simple: Get your Omega-3s!

Are you taking enough Omega-3s? What is your favorite Omega-3-rich food?

Images: http://www.wembleyclinic.co.za, http://www.xtri.com,

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