I cannot overestimate the importance of omega 3 and fish oil. Omega 3 are essential fatty acids. The fascinating thing about them is that our body needs essential fatty acids, but does not produce them. “Because essential fatty acids (ALA, DHA, EPA) are not made in the body or are inefficiently converted from ALA to EPA and DHA, we need to get them from our diet,” says WebMD. Therefore, we have to get our Omega 3 dozes from food or supplements.
The most important Omega 3 fatty acids are DHA and ARA, and they are both found in some cold water fish. Another essential fatty acid, ALA, is found in plants such as flaxseed, nuts, cooking oils, and certain algae.
Benefits of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids
Other then vitamin D and probiotics, Omega 3 and fish oil are the most important supplements you can take, in my opinion. There are countless benefits to taking them on a daily basis, and Web MD lists some of them below.
- “Blood fat [triglycerides]. According to a number of studies, fish oil supplements can lower elevated triglyceride levels. Having high levels of this blood fat is a risk factor for heart disease. DHA alone has also been shown to lower triglycerides.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. A number of studies have found that fish oil supplements [EPA+DHA] significantly reduced 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. Fish oil may help reduce the depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder.
- Prenatal health. DHA appears to be important for visual and neurological development in infants. However, studies are inconclusive as to whether supplementing omega-3 during pregnancy or breastfeeding benefits the baby.
- Asthma. Evidence suggests that a diet high in omega 3s reduces inflammation, a key component in asthma. However, more studies are needed to show if fish oil supplements improve lung function or reduce the amount of medication a person needs to control their disease.
- ADHD. Some studies show that fish oil can reduce the symptoms of ADHD in some children and improve their cognitive function. However, more research is needed in this area, and omega-3 supplements as a primary treatment for this disorder are not supported by research.
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The evidence is preliminary, but some research suggests that omega-3s may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Recent studies have also evaluated whether the omega-3 supplement DHA can slow the decline seen in those with Alzheimer’s dementia or in age-associated memory impairment. One recent study showed that DHA can be a beneficial supplement and may have a positive effect on gradual memory loss associated with aging. However, more research needs to be done.”
How to get Omega 3 in Diet
In order to get a daily dose of omega 3, you need to either eat a diet full of essential fatty acids, or take supplements. Doctors recommend eating the following fish two to three times a week: wild salmon, bluefish, mackerel, anchovies and tuna. Be careful to research the fish, and limit that which has high levels of mercury. Other good sources of ALA essential fatty acids are walnuts, flaxseed, and different cooking oils. Cooking oils are best used on salads, such as canola oil, because exposing them to heat can often make the nutrients disappear.
How to get Omega 3 in Supplements
Because not a lot of food contains Omega 3 fatty acids, the best way to ensure the proper dose is to take fish oil supplements. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends taking 1-2 grams per day for adults. We take New Chapter Wholemega Fish Oil in our family. They are made from wild-caught Alaskan salmon, and contain 16 essential fatty acids and Vitamin D.
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