According to new studies on omega-3 fatty acids, these fatty acids play a key role for a healthier life. Omega-3 fatty acids are already well known for their benefit to healthy heart and may also decrease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis in people. New studies have revealed its benefits for treating autism, depression, Alzheimers, bipolar disorder, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), allergies, and asthma; as well as it improves brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids also needed by dogs and cats for staying healthy.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids which have three double bonds between different carbon atoms, and this bond is represented by the Greek letter omega. Animals, including humans, do not have the enzyme that is necessary to create double bonds naturally and must acquire the molecules from food. Omega-3 fatty acids have five different forms, out of them three are most important to human health. These are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). From this, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the one which is specified in the United States’ official guidelines with a dietary reference intake. Men should eat 1.6 grams of the fatty acid in a day and women should get 1.1 grams in a day according to the Institute of Medicine.
Nutritional scientist Bruce Holub, of the University of Guelph in Ontario and executive director of the DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute said, "There's very strong, medical-nutrition, literature-based evidence in humans suggesting that the average American would probably have a healthier life, a lower risk of dying from heart disease and improved brain function by consuming more fish, more supplements or more functional foods with DHA and EPA."
Essential Sources of omega-3 fatty acids:
- Anchovies, bluefish, wild salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, sturgeon, tuna, and lake trout are the best sources of DHA and EPA.
- On the other hand, ALA can be obtained from walnuts, flax and flaxseed oil, olive oil, soybean oil, and canola oil.
- Some sources of omega 3 fatty acids, like oils and nuts which are beneficial for health in some ways, should be taken in restraint because they are high in calories too.
- It is better to gain omega 3 fatty acids from natural food sources instead of supplements.
- Dark green vegetables like seaweed, broccoli, spinach and kale are a reasonable source of omega-3 essential fatty acids if eaten regularly.
- Other vegetables, like spring greens, dark salad leaves, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, & parsley are realistic sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids:
- Omega 3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing stiffness and joint pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis. They also increase the effects of anti-inflammatory medicine.
- DHA and EPA supplements boost the development of babies in pregnant women, especially visual and neurological development of babies.
- Blood pressure and triglyceride levels can also be reduced as much as 50% by Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil.
- Food or supplements sources of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve bone density, which may alleviate some symptoms of osteoporosis.
- In people who suffer from asthma, fish oil may help to improve lung function.
- Studies suggest that people who take higher omega 3s in their diets have lower incidences of depression. Also, fish oil may reduce the depressive symptoms of people with bipolar disorder and may also enhance the effectiveness of antidepressants.
- It reduces the risk of heart disease. Also, it reduces the risk of a repeat heart attack in people who have had a heart attack when they take omega 3 supplements. An arrhythmia may be reduced by fish oil and eating fish at least once a week also decreases the risk of a stroke.
- New studies have shown that fish oil may reduce the symptoms of ADHD in young children and improve their cognitive development.
- Research on omega-3 fatty acids suggest that omega 3s have the potential to help defend against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- Omega 3s may also have the potential to benefit other medical conditions like Crohn’s disease, lupus, some cancers, painful periods, obesity, skin conditions, and kidney damage from diabetes but it is still under study.
Omega-3 fatty acids are not a single nutrient means a family of compounds that are naturally abundant in fish, seafood and algae, and it's surprising that their chemical variety that may hold the key to improving our health. Each type of omega-3 plays a different role. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids depend on the amount, one's life stage and specific medical conditions. To clarify the details, Researchers are still trying but but some health experts already are shoving for clearer recommendations which will help people to harvest the benefits of omega-3s without wasting money on useless varieties.
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