Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Lay Public (FINAL draft) Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids In the rush to cut calories, reduce cholesterol intake, and avoid saturated fats, many of us have embraced low-fat diets and low-fat foods. But some fats are necessary and “essential” for health. These fats show great promise for fighting the onslaught of heart disease and diabetes, possibly even cancer. What are these “good” fats—and how do we get enough of them? The benefits of Omega 3 fats have been researched for quite some time and now those benefits are becoming increasingly well-known.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body can’t make them — you have to get them through food. Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that the human body needs for metabolic functioning but cannot produce, and therefore has to be acquired from food. What makes omega-3 fats special? They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cells in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation.
Omega-3 fats are a key family of polyunsaturated fats. There are three main omega-3s, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are found mainly in fish. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the most common omega-3 fatty acid in most Western diets, is found in vegetable oils and nuts. The Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to life at every stage, even before birth. They are found in the membrane of every cell in the body and help to ensure that the cell membrane is ideally equipped to do its job.
They are also used in the regulation of all biological functions, including those of the cardiovascular, reproductive, and immune and nervous systems. Optimum health can only be achieved when sufficient Omega-3s are obtained from the diet. They help maintain good health, promote brain and vision development and protect against disease. In chronic illness, it has been shown that an increase in the Omega-3 fatty acids of marine origin can effect an improvement across a range of conditions, both physical and mental.
Research is continually producing positive findings for these vital nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids are nutrients that play a vital role in safeguarding the body against a number of health disorders and diseases and the Omega 3 benefits are many and wide reaching. Basically, they are a class of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids that must be supplied to the body through diet. Omega 3 fatty acids also help improve the inflammatory response of the body, which means relief from painful inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, without the side effects of drugs.
In addition, they facilitate the production of hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins, which play a vital role in regulating a number of bodily processes such as blood clotting, blood pressure, inflammatory as well as allergic response, and nerve transmission. Among the Omega 3 fats benefits is to safeguard the body against cardiovascular diseases. This comes from their ability to reduce the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, as well as reduce blood pressure.
They also help raise the good cholesterol level (HDL), prevent thickening of the arterial walls, and inhibit platelet segregation (and hence prevent blood clots). Omega 3 fatty acids help stabilize blood insulin levels, and hence reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity. Omega 3 fatty acids boost brain activity and are, therefore, considered as brain food for enhancing intelligence, memory and concentration. They have also been found to be helpful in the treatment several mental disorders such as depression, psychosis, migraine, dyslexia, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and Alzheimer’s disease.
By promoting healthy cell walls, Omega 3 fats provide protection against undesired mutations in the DNA that may trigger the growth of cancerous cells, reducing your risk to commonly occurring cancers like breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. They also boost the immune system, thus increasing your resistance to common colds and other such allergic reactions. Omegas 3s are very important for our overall health and well-being. What health consequences and implications can occur due to lack of Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet?
A lack of Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet has been associated with mood swings, depression, memory loss and other neurological problems. A deficiency of Omega 3’s is among the prime cause in much inflammation related diseases such as joint pain, arthritis and osteoarthritis. Given the wide-ranging importance and benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, it is important to eat fish or other seafood one to two times per week, particularly fatty (dark meat) fish that are richer in EPA and DHA. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant and nursing mothers.
From the third trimester until the second year of life, a developing child needs a steady supply of DHA to form the brain and other parts of the nervous system. Many women shy away from eating fish because of concerns that mercury and other possible contaminants might harm their babies, yet the evidence for harm from lack of omega-3 fats is far more consistent, and a balance of benefit versus risk is easily obtained.
With so many Omega 3 benefits, it would only be prudent to include them in your daily diet. Some good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are: fatty fish (e. g. tuna, salmon, herring, halibut, shrimps, and scallops), nuts and seeds (e. g. , walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, hempseeds, mustard seeds, and pumpkin seeds), tofu, broccoli, dark green vegetables and Brussels sprouts. Or you may take supplements of omega-3 fatty acids, but preferably after consultation with your doctor. As we can see there are a phenomenal number of omega 3 benefits on health which makes it absolutely vital to include these essential fatty acids in our daily diets. This can be carried out either through natural food sources, or through pure and potent omega 3 fatty acid supplements.