Everything You Need to Know About Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Everything You Need to Know About Omega-3 Fatty AcidsThe significance of the cliché ‘health is wealth’ has received a boost in modern-day living when so much is being made out of eating right and exercising in order to stay healthy. Talking about eating wholesome and nutritious foods, one should take balanced meals containing the appropriate proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. With respect to consumption of fats, including foods rich in polyunsaturated fats and avoiding food items that contain saturated fats is highly recommended.

So, in this context, eating foods that are naturally imbued with omega-3 fatty acids (the best form of PUFAs or polyunsaturated fatty acids) would be par for the course. Omega-3 fatty acids are basically of three types-EPA, DHA and ALA-and all variants are required by the body for holistic functioning as well as for keeping lifestyle disorders and diseases at bay. What are the numerous health benefits of partaking foods that are laden with omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Play an Active Role in Keeping You Healthy

Natural oils found in a wide array of fish species abound in the EPA and DHA types of omega-3 fatty acids. Regular consumption of these species of fish including salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardine, and anchovies help in thwarting the onset of cardiovascular diseases and significantly reducing the risks of suffering heart attacks or strokes. The omega-3 fatty acids abounding in the abovementioned species of fish increase the content of good cholesterol (HDL or high-density lipoprotein) in blood on one hand.

And on the other, the uptake of bad cholesterol (LDL or low-density lipoprotein) is checked. This minimizes the chances of suffering myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) or strokes. Also, the incidences of gout, rheumatoid arthritis, joint stiffness and pains are reduced greatly.

Eating food items with a high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids leads to other health benefits as well. For instance, symptoms associated with depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, senility, and dementia are kept at bay.  Consistent consumption of fish oil and certain kinds of nuts can also help tackle asthma through improved lung function.

Omega-3 fatty acids also help in dealing with signs of ADHD and boost mental development of children. However, most of the health advantages attributed to this polyunsaturated fat are yet to be backed by concrete scientific evidence.

Rich Sources of Omega-3-Fatty Acids

Of course, fishes are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids than any other type of food or food item. Including cuts of lake trout, albacore tuna, wild salmon, sturgeon, sardine, mackerel, bluefish, herring and/or anchovies in your lunch or dinner at least three times weekly will be beneficial for your health. However, you’d be better off avoiding consuming portions of swordfish, eel, tilefish, shark, and some specific breeds of fish that are likely to contain good amount of mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other toxic elements.

Kids and pregnant women in particular should stay away from fishes reared in pisciculture farms owing to their high content of toxins and contaminants. For meeting your body’s requirement of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)-a kind of omega-3 fatty acids, consume prescribed portions of soybean oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds.

Should You Go for Supplements?

It is always suggested to fulfill your body’s requirement of omega-3 fatty acids from natural or organic sources instead of taking supplements. Get in touch with a doctor or nutritionist before you start taking supplements.

Image credit: David Holm

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