You have likely heard or read a lot about incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. From boosting brain power to reducing inflammation, omega-3s provide many benefits. It is possible that few nutrients have been scientifically investigated as much as omega-3 fatty acids.
If you still feel underwhelmed about the significance of omega-3s, read on to learn more about what this amazing and versatile nutrient can do for your physical and mental well-being. You can also learn ways to bring more omega-3s into your regular diet.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s) are polyunsaturated fats essential to many bodily functions. In other words, they are healthy fats. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids:
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), a form found in fish
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), also in fish
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), found in plants
When you consume ALA, your body can process some of it into EPA and then into DHA. However, this is still insufficient to maintain health, so you need to continually replenish omega-3 from food sources and supplements.
Physical Benefits of Omega-3s
Heart disease and stroke cause the most deaths globally. Adequate amounts of omega-3s reduce your risk, and they still provide benefits to people with these conditions. Omega-3s help by raising HDL (good) cholesterol levels, reducing blood clots, and inhibiting the release of chemicals in the body that cause inflammation.
Your eyes have DHA, but they cannot generate enough of this omega-3 on their own. When you do not get enough DHA, you may develop vision problems. In addition to preserving general eye health, getting adequate amounts of omega-3 can lower your risk of macular degeneration.
A Boost to Cognitive and Mental Health
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, omega-3s are an excellent source of natural healing. Studies investigating people with these mental illnesses can improve their symptoms by taking omega-3 supplements. Even if you do not have a history of depression or anxiety, regularly taking omega-3 can reduce your risk for these conditions.
Pregnant people who get enough omega-3 can boost the brain health of their babies in the womb and during infancy. More specifically, healthy amounts of omega-3 can improve a child’s cognitive development, communication, and social skills and reduce the likelihood of behavioral problems.
Some studies have found that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tend to have lower levels of omega-3 in their blood. If you have a child who struggles with ADHD, increasing their intake of omega-3s may be more effective than having them take drugs with potential side effects.
Ways to Include Omega-3s into Your Diet
Because your body cannot make enough omega-3s to survive and thrive, you must get it from food or supplements. Knowing the foods rich in omega-3s can help you get enough of this essential nutrient. Look for omega-3s in
- Fish like mackerel, salmon, herring, anchovies, and whitefish
- Flaxseed, canola, and soybean oils
- Chia seeds
Omega-3 Supplementation and Nutritional Counseling in Cincinnati
With hectic schedules and easy access to packaged food products, getting enough omega-3 fatty acids through whole foods can be challenging. If you do not think you are getting enough of this nutrient, consider taking Omega-3 Fish Oil, which you can get online from Blatman Health and Wellness Center.
You may also consider getting counseling from a local holistic nutritionist at the Center. A clinical nutritionist can help you create a meal plan that incorporates more omega-3s and other essential nutrients into your daily diet.