Omega-3 fatty acids are an incredibly important nutrient that help build and maintain a healthy body. They have many powerful health benefits for your body and brain.
In fact, few nutrients have been studied as thoroughly as omega-3 fatty acids. Here, we'll go through what exactly omega-3 is and how it can benefit your health.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids is an essential nutrient that your body cannot make on its own. Instead, you can get this nutrient from either food or supplements in order to help support a healthy body. These nutrients are key to the structure of your cell walls and provide an energy source that help keep your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and immune system working the way they should be.
There are 2 main types of Omega-3s - EPA and DHA - which are primarily found in fish. Another type of Omega-3 - ALA - is primarily found in plant sources like nuts and seeds.
Not only are these fatty acids crucial to the way your body functions, they also provide some really great health benefits.
Health Benefits of Omega-3
Omega-3s can improve the risk factors for heart disease. Researchers have observed that fish-eating communities have very low rates of heart diseases which was later linked to omega-3 consumption.
Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids causes a major reduction in the level of triglycerides and can also help reduce blood pressure levels in people with high blood pressure. These fatty acids can also help raise HDL levels or “good cholesterol” while lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. Additionally, omega-3 helps prevent the formation of harmful blood clots and the formation of plaque that can restrict and harden your arteries.
Can Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural response to infections and damage in your body. While this response is vital to your health, inflammation can sometimes persist for a long time, even without an injury or infection present. This kind of long-term response is called chronic inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of molecules and substances linked to inflammation and studies have shown a connection between high levels of omega-3 intake and reduced inflammation.
Bone and Joint Health
Osteoporosis and arthritis are common disorders that greatly affect the health of your skeletal system. Studies have shown that omega-3 intake can help improve bone strength by boosting the amount of calcium in your bones. This can then lead to a lowered risk of osteoporosis.
Furthermore, research shows that omega-3s can be helpful in treating arthritis, and patients who supplement with omega-3s have reported reduced joint pain and improved grip strength.
A major structural component of the structure of the retina of your eye is DHA, a type of omega-3. Not getting enough DHA may hinder your eye health and contribute to vision problems.
Macular degeneration is one of the world’s leading causes of permanent eye damage and blindness however, an increase in omega-3 intake has been linked to a lower risk of this disease.
Depression and anxiety are some of the most common mental disorders in the world. Studies indicate that those who have a regular intake of omega-3s are less likely to be depressed. Furthermore, those who begin supplementation with omega-3s report improved symptoms which are caused by anxiety and depression. Of the 3 types of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA appears to have the most positive effect against fighting depression.
Additionally, higher intake of omega-3 has been linked to a decrease in age-related mental decline like Alzheimer's disease and may be most beneficial at disease onset when symptoms are mild.
How to Take Omega-3
For most people, it is easy to meet nutritional needs through a balanced diet. However, it can be difficult to meet the daily recommendation for nutrients for others due to food preferences, access to food, and how the body absorbs those nutrients.
In order to meet your nutritional needs of omega-3, you can start supplementing with omega-3 whether that's by adding fish oil capsules to your diet. If you are looking for a plant based alternative, there are also vegan omega-3 supplements available. As always, when adding a new supplement to your diet, it is important to speak to your doctor about medicine interactions and side effects.
The most common side effects that occur when adding omega-3 supplements are:
- Burping or gas
- Diarrhoea or constipation
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient that is consumed through foods or supplements. There are numerous potential health benefits of omega-3 including, protecting heart health, eye health, brain function, and lowering the risk of some chronic diseases.
Eating a well balanced diet which includes fatty fish, nuts, and seeds can help improve your intake of omega-3 allowing you to reap the health benefits of this nutrient. Dietary supplements are also available to help meet your omega-3 needs.