What are Omega -3 fatty acids?
Omega -3 fatty acids are vital fats that our bodies need and should be in the diet we take for us to remain healthy and fit. Omega -3 fatty acids are so essential to the body that any deficiency of them in the body can cause serious and unimaginable health effects. Another interesting fact about these fats is that the human body cannot produce them on its own. Omega -3 fatty acids can only be gotten from certain kind’s food. The foods that are rich in Omega -3 fatty acids include chia seeds, fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseed oils, flax seeds etc. These are some of the foods that contain Omega -3 fatty acids that will nourish your body. If you know you are one of those people who does not eat these foods, it is vital that you get Omega -3 fatty acids supplementation. Omega -3 fatty acids supplementation that is derived from fish oil is however advised as it is safe and healthy.
There is three main Omega -3 fatty acids that you will easily find in your diet are; DHA, EPA, and ALA. We take a detailed look at each of this three main Omega 3s fatty acids below:
(ALA) Alpha-Linolenic acid– this Omega -3 fatty acids are usually based on plants such as green leafy veg, canola, chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, soybean oils, etc. ALA is an omega -3 fatty acids that your body needs to be converted to a long chain EPA. DHA, on the other hand, is needed to help with its synthesis. The process that is needed in the bodies of men to convert ALA to longer chain EPA and DHA to synthesize it is usually not sufficient. What this means, therefore, is that in men only just 1% of the ALA they consume is actually changed to the long chain Omega -3 fatty acids that their body needs.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – it is a 22-carbon molecule that is found in Krill oil and oil-rich fish. The human body usually converts DHA molecules to EPA so that a balance can be attained particularly if you happen to have consumed more of DHA. DHA is found in oily fish and algae oil that you may need to consume to keep you nourished as your body will not produce them on its own.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – This type of Omega -3 fatty acids are also found in oily fish, algae oils, and Krill oil. EPA is classified a 20-carbon fatty acid that your body will be able to synthesize just in the original form it comes in. Your body needs EPA omega -3 fatty acids in considerable quantities for the health benefits they offer to be attained.
So, what are the benefits of Omega -3 fatty acids?
They are good for your heart health
The most common health benefits of Omega -3 fatty acids are the benefits they have on the heart. They are said to have a positive effect on the risk factors that are connected with heart conditions. This is why you will find most health experts recommended that people try as much to have sufficient amounts of Omega -3 fatty acids in their diet. You probably know that stroke and heart disease are serious health conditions that threaten the lives of many people worldwide. It has been established that people who consume sufficient amounts of these fats in their diets do not usually suffer from these diseases. This should not, however, be taken to mean that Omega -3 fatty acids prevent heart disease and stroke. This subject is still a matter controversy amongst health experts and scientists.
People with abnormal triglycerides may need to consume diets with high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids as this may help to lower their risk of heart disease. Scientific research suggests that the presence of high amounts of omega -3 fatty acids indeed helps to lower triglyceride levels in people.
The fact that omega -3 fatty acids help to raise HDL levels (good cholesterol) is one phenomenon that explains why they are good for your heart health. There are also some studies that have found that these fats may also increase the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol). The good thing is that this increase is usually very minimal not to cause any harm to the body.
Omega -3 fatty acids will also prevent the build-up of plaque in the arteries something which ensures proper blood flow. This reduces the chances of arteriosclerosis as there will be no chance of the major blood vessels hardening.
Another admirable property of omega -3 fatty acids is the fact that they somehow prevent blood clots by stopping platelets from clumping together. This in effect prevents any chance of blood clots that could cause serious effects on a person.
They help to fight inflammation
Studies conducted by experts conclude that omega -3 fatty acids help to inflammation in the human body. This is perhaps one of the most vital health benefits of these fats in the human body. Inflammation in the human body is often blamed for a host of diseases. This is why most foods that have anti-inflammatory properties are usually encouraged. By eating foods that have anti-inflammatory properties you give your body the much-needed boost to fight diseases.
A recent study has it that omega -3 supplementation helps to reduce inflammation that is caused by an accumulation of fat.
Omega -3 fatty acids against mental disorders
Studies suggest that there are various conditions connected with mental health that appear to get better when a person takes omega -3 fatty acids.
Omega -3s on depression and anxiety
Some of the most life-threatening health conditions like anxiety and depression remain widespread globally. Unfortunately, conventional medications usually don’t leave impressive results. Now, health experts more than ever agree that people who take foods that have sufficient levels of omega -3 fatty acids are little likely to suffer from these mental conditions.
Some of the more common mental health conditions that omega -3 fatty acids seem to help combat include; schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and ADHD in small children.
Effects of omega -3s on other mental related illnesses and behaviors
There are studies that suggest that subjects that had violent behaviors and other related symptoms who take foods that are rich in omega -3 fatty acids changed. If these are studies to go by, then omega -3 fatty acids seem to be very good at combating mental related problems.
How it helps to prevent and manage diseases related to immune system
There are people who have experienced cases where their immune systems work by attacking their body’s healthy cells. This often occurs when the immune system mistakes the healthy cells of foreign bodies. Some of the autoimmune condition issues include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and ulcerative colitis. Fortunately, numerous studies have linked eating of foods that are rich in omega -3 fatty acids to help beat these conditions. People who have sufficient amounts of omega -3 fatty acids are not bound to suffer from these autoimmune diseases. Children who particularly take a huge quantity of omega -3 fatty acids in their first years of life are said to be less likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases.
The association of Omega -3 fatty acids with reduced cancer risk
There are various epidemiological research and studies which have been conducted by health experts that prove that omega -3 fatty acids help to lower the risk of various types’ cancers. People who eat lots of food that have DHA and EPA are said to be at minimal risk of getting colorectal cancer. These are findings that emanate from scientific studies that were conducted in China and Scotland
Effects of Omega -3 fatty acids on hormonal cancers
There are numerous lab studies that suggest that omega -3 fatty acids may have some positive effects in slowing the development of hormone-related cancers. These cancers include prostate and breast cancer. These findings are however still a subject of controversy as some experts still don’t agree with them. However, according to proponents of the findings, people who eat lots of oily fish and those who take omega -3 fatty acids will experience reduced hormonal cancer risk.
To help support the findings, a lab study that was conducted in 2014 found that curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric when combined with omega -3s is more effective against pancreatic cancer.
Omega -3 fatty acids may be good for healthy bones and joints
You certainly know about the old man’s disorder called osteoporosis which is the main culprit in most osteoporotic fractures that occur in elderly people worldwide. Fatty acids with the inclusion of omega -3 fatty acids are claimed to help the body absorb more calcium. Of course, you know the importance of calcium the wonder mineral that fosters stronger bones and muscle in the body. Trials of omega -3 fatty acids in old subjects have shown remarked increase of bone density even in those who are already experiencing osteoporosis.
Other studies also suggest that omega -3 fatty acids can inhibit the advancement of arthritis in old people. Cod liver oil, for instance, has been known from studies conducted from as early as 1959 to have impressive effects on arthritis. There is, however, no scientific evidence to prove that high levels of omega -3s will stop arthritis from developing. One thing though is clear that omega -3 fatty acids are effective at reducing inflammation that is synonymous with causing joint or bone pain resulting from arthritis.
Fatty acids improve your sleep quality
Lack of sufficient sleep is said to have adverse effects on the overall health of an individual and therefore one needs to take measures to ensure he/she gets sufficient sleep. One of the most notable benefits of having sufficient sleep is the strength it offers your body to be able to fight diseases. Sleep is also beneficial to the body for enhancing various natural processes such as hormonal balance, digestion, better cognitive function and so much more.
Other tests have established that children that do not get sufficient omega -3 fatty acids usually suffer from sleep problems. Low or insufficient omega -3 fatty acid in the bodies of adults is most commonly blamed for sleep problems Low levels of omega -3 fatty acids in the diet is said to be associated with low melatonin. This is the sleep hormone that helps people to be to sleep. What this means is that people suffering from sleep-related disorders should take foods that are rich in omega -3 fatty acids.
Omega -3 fatty acids are good for the development of infants and children
Long-chain fatty acids make up a big percentage of them in the brain as well as the retina. This fact alone points out to the massive importance of these fatty acids during early development of people. It is important for small children and babies who are still developing to be given sufficient amounts of omega -3 fatty acids. These should be in the forms of DHA and EPA as they will help with the proper development of the brain and eyes.
A mother’s milk provides good amounts of fatty acids provided the mother herself is taking foods rich with them. It is important to note that regular formulas usually don’t have enough of these fatty acids. This calls on mothers who like to feed their babies formulas to go for DHA-fortified formulas. This will help their babies achieve better and enhanced growth that any parent would wish for his/her baby.
Other sources claim that children who get enough omega -3 fatty acids can be safe from suffering conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, and asthma.
Menstrual pains may be kept at bay with enough amounts of fatty acids
Quite a number of women suffer from menstrual related pains so much that it even affects their lives negatively. Interestingly, scientific research has found out that omega -3 fatty acids supplementations may greatly help to reduce painful cramps in women. What better way to help women deal with period cramps naturally than with conventional methods that have been blamed for causing side effects. Next time try taking foods rich in omega -3s like the Atlantic Mackerel to see its positive effects on your problem of painful cramps!