Omega 3 Benefits - Don't Miss Out
Research has proven Omega 3 benefits over and over again. Many diet and supplement fads have come and gone over the years. However, Omega 3 fatty acids will likely remain an integral part of maintaining health for the long run.
While the body produces it's own cholesterol, this is not true with Omega 3. The only way our bodies can obtain this essential compound is through diet.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids-What Are They?
Science has discovered three types of Omega 3 fatty acids. The first, Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is found in plants, such as flax, soy beans, wheat germ, and nuts. ALA is then broken down by our body into the other two types of omega 3, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
EPA and DHA are the compounds that provide so many benefits to the body.
The Importance Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Scientific studies abound showing that omega 3 benefits are numerous. It has been shown to lower the rate of heart disease, help decrease the severity of arthritis, and even reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Babies that are still developing in the womb and do not receive adequate amounts of DHA and EPA from their mothers have been shown to be at higher risk for vision and nervous system problems.
There has also been much research that suggests they are important for proper memory and thinking functions. They appear to help supply more blood and oxygen to the brain. A lack of omega 3 is related to memory problems, mood disorders, and fatigue.
On the other hand, individuals who are receiving adequate levels find that omega 3 benefits their cholesterol readings, blood sugar levels, and overall health.
In general, those who have large amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids in their diet have better cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This alone will lead to a much lower incident of coronary heart disease.
Diet and Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 can easily be obtained through diet. It is recommended by the American Heart Association that we consume 2 servings of fish per week. Cold water fish such as salmon have the highest amount of Omega 3 content. Some other good sources are tuna, mackerel, halibut and herring.
Read our discussion of the health benefits of fish to learn about other ways eating fish can benefit you.
Many other forms of marine life also contains large amounts of DHA and EPA such as shrimp and Krill. A good plant source for these fatty acids is sea vegetation and is recommended as a good source for balancing your nutritional intake.
The Mediterranean Diet has become extremely popular due to it's emphasis on omega 3. This diet contains lower amounts of high fat red meats and more servings of fish with high amounts of DHA and EPA. Other sources of Omega 3 in the Mediteranean diet include whole grains, fruit and vegetables, berries, walnuts and flax.
Omega 3 Supplements
For those of us who do not eat fish on a regular basis, we can enjoy Omega 3 benefits by taking a fish oil supplement. These are also available as salmon oil or Krill oil. While the marketing literature will tell you that one is much better than another, from what I can see, you should get similar results from all three.
Important things to be aware of when buying an Omega 3 Supplement:
1. Verify that the product has been tested for contamination. Some fish have high levels of mercury.
2. The Value is in the amount of EPA and DHA. A fish oil capsule may contain 1 gram of fish oil but if it has low amounts of EPA and DHA, it will not benefit you as much as one with larger amounts.
One more great thing about fish oil. It is inexpensive. Considering the many benefits of Omega 3, it is one of the most cost effective supplements available.
Too Much Of A Good Thing?
It is possible to get too much of many things in life. This is true with Omega 3. When taken in large quantities, omega 3 can act as a blood thinner when taken in doses higher than 3 grams per day.
A normal dose to maintain good health would be around 1 gram. Many people take 2 grams per day to improve their cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The fish oil cholesterol connection is an important one to understand
As with any diet or supplement, it is important that you check with your doctor before beginning. This is especially true if you are on blood thinning medication.
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