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Omega 3s Are Vital Nutrients to a Healthy Lifestyle

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats found in certain foods. They are also called n-3 fatty acids because they have three carbons in the chain of carbon atoms. The body needs omega-3 to make hormones, fight inflammation, promote brain development and function.

Although omega-three is found in some parts of the body, like the brain, sperm cells, and retina, the body cannot produce this fat on its own. This is why it is essential to incorporate healthy foods into the diet, as omega-3s are naturally found in some foods like fish. The daily intake of omega 3s for men is 1.6g, and for women is 1.1g. Read on to discover more about the sources of omega 3s and their benefits.

Main Sources of Omega 3s

There are three main types of fatty acids in the omega-3 family that come from different food sources. They include:

EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) - EPA fatty acid is found in cold-water fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel. EPA is an essential component of cell membranes and plays a role in regulating inflammation. EPA has been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels, prevent heart disease, and may even help fight cancer.

ALA (Alpha-linolenic Acid) - ALA is an essential fatty acid that is obtained from plants. This fatty acid is found in many foods, especially nuts and seeds. Naturally, the body can make its own ALA from alpha-linolenic acid found in plant foods. In the human body, ALA can be converted into other fatty acids, DHA and EPA, or used as fuel for cellular energy production. It also helps maintain normal blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and immune function.

DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) - DHA makes up approximately 40% of the polyunsaturated fat in the brain. This fatty acid affects the body's metabolism positively. DHA helps in brain development, eye function, and heart health. The fatty acid is also an important diet for newborns, which is why it is found in breast milk.

In general, the most common omega-3s are found in salmon, herring, and sardines. Other sources of omega 3s include:

  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans
  • Almonds
  • Milk
  • Soy beverages
  • Yogurt
  • Infant formula

Benefits of Omega 3s

Omega 3 fatty acids play a crucial role in our brains. They're an important part of the brain's neurotransmitter system and help regulate moods and feelings of well-being. There's strong evidence to suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may help suppress depression and anxiety symptoms. They improve mood and reduce symptoms such as irritability, anger, frustration, and fatigue.

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for optimal brain function. Research has shown that frequent consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can correct age-related cognitive decline and dementia. Note that some people develop Alzheimer's disease due to low blood levels of DHA. Fortunately, one can avoid age-related issues by taking the right amount of omega-3 daily.

The fatty acids in omega-3 supplements can protect against some cancers, including breast and prostate cancer. Based on a study, people who consume foods rich in omega 3s have 55% lower risk of developing colon cancer.

Inflammation is a form of the body's immune response to injury or infection. It occurs when cells in the body release chemicals called cytokines that cause inflammation at sites where they meet damaged tissue or foreign invaders such as bacteria or viruses.

Inflammation can lead to pain, redness, swelling, and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids helps reduce inflammation by inhibiting cyclooxygenase enzymes in the body. Other benefits include: 

  • Omega 3s reduce ADHD symptoms and asthma in children
  • Omega 3 helps in getting rid of excess fat from the liver
  • Omega 3 is also suitable for baby development

Omega 3s are vital nutrients to a healthy lifestyle and have proved to be very helpful in the human body. They play a vital role in the development of most key cell structures. Since the body cannot make enough omega-three fatty acids on its own, ensure that you consume foods rich in these nutrients.

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