Omega 3 Fatty Acids
When it comes to fats, there is one type you don't want to cut down on omega-3 fatty acids. Many Americans have switched to omega-3 fish oil supplements in the last ten years, which have advantages for both healthier individuals and people with heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are present in foods and dietary supplements. ALA is present mainly in vegetable oils, such as chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts. DHA and EPA are mainly present in cold-water fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, herring, and sardines. Small amounts of ALA can be converted by a person's body into DHA and EPA. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), most people in the United States get enough ALA in their diet. Experts have not yet established how much DHA and EPA a person needs.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids And What Do They Do?
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods, such as fish and flax, and dietary supplements, such as fish oil. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the three major omega-3 fatty acids. ALA is found primarily in vegetable oils such as linseed, soy, and canola. Fish and other shellfish include DHA and EPA. ALA is an essential fatty acid, which means your body cannot make it, so you must get it from the foods and beverages you eat. Your body can convert some ALA to EPA and then DHA, but only in very small amounts. As a result, the only realistic way to raise the body's levels of these omega-3 fatty acids is to eat more of them (or take dietary supplements if you take them). Omega-3 fatty acids are essential components of the membranes that cover all of the body's cells. The retina (eye), brain, and sperm all have high DHA levels. Omega-3s also provide calories to fuel your body and have many functions in your heart, blood vessels, lungs, immune system, and endocrine system.
What Makes Omega-3 Fats Special?
They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of cell receptors on these membranes. They serve as a starting point for the production of hormones that control blood clotting, arterial wall contraction and relaxation, and inflammation. They bind to cell receptors that control gene expression as well. Probably due to these effects, omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke can help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and can play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.
How Many Omega-3 Do I Need?
This should include a variety of fish. Cold-water wild varieties such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines, and herring contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. See the list above to help you choose fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. If you have heart disease, your healthcare professional may recommend that you take one gram of EPA + DHA every day. If you have trouble getting this amount from food alone, talk to your doctor about taking a fish oil supplement. Even if you take medicine to reduce your triglyceride levels, you will need to consume more foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids if you have high triglyceride levels. Your healthcare provider may also want you to take a fish oil supplement. In general, 2-4 grams of EPA + DHA is recommended every day for patients with high triglyceride levels. This amount has been shown to lower triglyceride levels by 25 to 35 percent.
Depression And Anxiety
Supplementing omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce and relieve depression and anxiety. EPA appears to be the most effective in fighting depression.
Fish oil supplements can reduce elevated triglyceride levels. Having high levels of this fat in your blood puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke.
Fish oil supplements (EPA + DHA) can reduce joint stiffness and pain. Omega-3 supplements also appear to increase the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory medications.
Improve Eye Health
An omega-3 fatty acid called DHA is an important structural component of the eye's retinas. It can help prevent macular degeneration, which can cause vision problems and blindness.
A diet rich in omega-3s reduces inflammation, a key component in asthma. But more studies are needed to show whether fish oil supplements improve lung function or reduce the amount of medication a person needs to control the condition.
Alzheimer's Disease And Dementia
Some research suggests that omega-3s may help protect against Alzheimer's disease and dementia, and have a positive effect on gradual, aging-related memory loss. But that is still not certain.
May Fight Autoimmune Diseases
Omega-3 fatty acids can help fight various autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and psoriasis.
Omega 3 Rich Foods
Mackerel (4,107 mg per serving)
Mackerel is a small, fatty fish. Mackerel is incredibly nutrient-dense - a 3.5 oz (100 gram) serving contains 200% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin B12 and 100% selenium, these fish are delicious and require little preparation.
Salmon (4,123 mg per serving)
Salmon is one of the world's most nutrient-dense plants. It's packed with high-quality protein and a wide range of nutrients, including significant levels of vitamin D, selenium, and B vitamins. Studies show that people who eat fatty fish regularly, such as salmon, have a lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, dementia, and depression.
Cod Liver Oil (2,682 mg per serving)
Cod liver oil is more of a supplement than a food. As its name implies, it is an oil extracted from the cod liver. Not only is this oil high in omega-3 fatty acids, but it is also loaded with vitamins D and A, with a single tablespoon providing 170% and 453% of the RDI, respectively.
Flax Seeds (2,350 mg per serving)
Flax seeds are small brown or yellow seeds. They are often ground, ground, or used to make oil. These seeds are by far the richest whole food source of omega-3 fats alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Therefore, flaxseed oil is often used as an omega-3 supplement. Flax seeds are also a good source of fiber, magnesium, and other nutrients. They have an excellent omega-6 to omega-3 ratio compared to most oily plant seeds.
Chia Seeds (5,060 mg per serving)
Chia seeds are incredibly nutritious, rich in manganese, selenium, magnesium, and a few other nutrients. A standard 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of chia seeds contains 5 grams of protein, including all eight essential amino acids.
Walnuts (2,570 mg per serving)
Walnuts are very nutritious and loaded with fiber. They also contain high amounts of copper, manganese, vitamin E, as well as important plant compounds. Make sure not to remove the skin, as it contains most of the phenolic antioxidants in walnuts, which offer significant health benefits.
Soybeans (1,241 mg per serving)
Soy is a good source of fiber and vegetable protein. They are also a good source of other nutrients, such as riboflavin, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium. However, soy is also very rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Researchers have hypothesized that eating too much omega-6 can cause inflammation.
Side effects of omega-3 supplements are usually mild and can include:
- Bad breath
- Bad-smelling sweat
The ODS notes that if a person is taking blood thinners, which are drugs that prevent the blood from clotting, taking high doses of omega-3 supplements can lead to bleeding problems.
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