There are many vital components needed for men and women to achieve and maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. One of these is making sure you are getting enough omega-3 fatty acids from healthy fat sources.
The body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids on its own so it is imperative we monitor our intake to avoid a deficiency.
The basic types of Omega-3 are divided into three categories, DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, and EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, both of which are mainly from fish oils, and ALA or alpha-linolenic acid, which is mostly derived from plant sources.
DHA and EPA are found in fatty types of fish including cod, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardine, and tuna. Although there is no standard dosage, at least two servings of fatty fish twice a week are generally recommended for maintaining healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
ALA can be found in seeds such as chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseed as well as nuts including almonds, peanuts, and walnuts.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been the subject of numerous scientific studies and are believed to have several positive effects on various illnesses and conditions.
One of the main components of the eye’s retina is DHA, making this omega-3 fatty acid essential to good eye health. A diet rich in enough omega-3s has been linked to a decrease in a serious eye disorder known as macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of blindness and permanent eye damage.
Some inflammation can be useful for fighting infections or for healing the body after a trauma. However, prolonged inflammation, or chronic inflammation, is known to contribute to many serious diseases and conditions including cancer and heart disease.
A key benefit of omega-3 fatty acids is a decrease in the production of molecules that are linked to an increase in inflammation.
The risk factors associated with heart attacks and strokes, two leading causes of death worldwide, may also be lessened due to the consumption of enough omega-3 fatty acids. Along with a reduction of triglycerides, blood clots, and arterial plaque, blood pressure and HDL or “good” cholesterol both see improvements with adequate consumption of omega-3s.
Omega-3 fatty acids may also be helpful for fighting certain types of cancer. Studies have long shown the benefits of DHA when it comes to inhibiting the growth of colon cancer.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also useful for combating a host of autoimmune disorders and diseases. Omega-3s may have a positive effect on conditions such as type one diabetes, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Joint and bone health are two more aspects of a healthy lifestyle in which omega-3s may be beneficial. Studies have shown that a reduction in both osteoporosis and arthritis may result from an ample amount of omega-3 fats.
Healthy skin and fighting the effects of premature aging are even more benefits of getting enough omega-3 fats in your diet.
DHA is a structural component of skin that is responsible for keeping the cell’s membranes healthy, resulting in younger-looking, softer, more supple skin. The EPA omega-3 is beneficial for the skin by keeping it hydrated and managing oil production, reducing the risk of acne, and diminishing signs of premature aging.
In addition to the many physical ailments, there are a number of mental and psychiatric disorders that see marked improvement with omega-3 fatty acids, although more research is still needed in this area.
Age-related conditions including a decline in mental capacity, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease may both see improvement with omega-3s particularly in the early stages of the onset of the diseases.
Conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, mood swings, anxiety, and depression may all benefit from the consumption of omega-3s.
Even our sleep may be improved upon with help from omega-3 fatty acids. Sleep deprivation has been linked to numerous adverse conditions including diabetes, depression, and obesity.
DHA in particular may be useful for improving the quality and amount of sleep we get. If DHA levels are too low, so is the production of the hormone melatonin, which is needed for falling asleep.
EPA, ALA, and DHA omega-3 fatty acids are all essential aspects of a healthy diet for adults as well as an integral part of infant and child development.