What are Health Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
What are omega 3 fatty acids and why are they good for you?
Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential fatty acid your body needs for proper cell function and growth.
The three main omega 3 fatty acids are:
- Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
- Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA)
Your body can’t make these fatty acids, so you need to get them from your diet.
EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish, such as mackerel and salmon, and ALA is found in flax seeds and walnuts.
Health Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Other health benefits include:
- Help control your blood pressure.
- Boost your immune system to help your body fight infections.
- Regulates your body’s temperature.
- Affects inflammation levels in your body.
- Prevent blood clots which may reduce your risk for stroke or heart attack.
- Reduce triglycerides levels in your blood lowering your risk for heart disease.
- Help improve mood and learning function in young children.
- May help boost your metabolism and burn fat more efficiently.
How to Increase Your Dietary Intake of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The best way to get more EPA, DHA and ALA is through your diet.
- Animal-based sources of EPA and DHA are fatty fish or seafood (mackerel, sardines and herring)
- Plant-based sources of ALA include walnuts, flax seed, chia seeds and kidney beans
- Vegetable-based oils provide ALA in canola oil, flaxseed oil and soybean oils
Your body can convert the AHA into EPA and DHA, but only in very small amounts (about 6 – 8%).
Food scientists claim only way to get enough EPA and DHA in your diet is through food or nutritional supplements.
If you’re concerned about ingesting too much mercury from eating fish, you can use pharmaceutical-grade fish oils. These highly purified oils are free of mercury, PCB’s and other contaminants that may be found in store-bought fish.
It’s recommended you consult with your health care provider before using an omega 3 supplement to your diet.
Always follow the suggested dosage guidelines on the ingredient label.