Omega-3 Benefits and how to get Omega-3s from the Food we eat
Why are Omega-3s so beneficial for us?
What is it about omega-3 fatty acids that makes them so beneficial for our health? Omega-3 molecules are a critical component of every cell inside our body. We need omega-3s in order to function properly, but our bodies do not produce omega3s. So where do we find good sources of these essential Omega-3 fatty acids? The AHA recommends people consume more fatty-rich fish like salmon to obtain their omega-3s. However, fish oil is the most well-known and researched source of omega-3s. The omega-3s found in fish oil can directly help benefit almost every organ in the body.
Brain Health Benefits of Omega-3s
- Without the proper amount of omega-3s, your body will suffer, especially the brain because over 40% of brain cells are made up of omega-3 fatty acids.
- One study in particular showed that people who eat fatty fish full of omega-3s have more gray matter in their brain. That matter is what enables us to process information, memories, and emotions.
Joint and Inflammation Support Benefits of Omega-3s
- Omega-3s have been found to support optimal inflammatory response through inflammatory molecules like eicosanoids and cytokines.
- Studies have consistently shown the link between consuming omega-3 fatty acids and reduced inflammation.
Heart Health Benefits of Omega-3
- The FDA also says that supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
- For some people, omega-3s can also help lower LDL (the bad) cholesterol.
Skin, Hair, and Nail Benefits of Omega-3s
- DHA from Omega-3 fatty acids is a major structural component of our skin. It helps to maintain the health of the membranes of skin cells, which leads to smoother, supple skin.
- EPA helps to reduce inflammation in skin, prevent acne, prevent aging, and helps to manage oil and hydration production in skin.
- Omega-3 fatty acids also help to keep your hair and nail bed moisturized. If you have an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, it can result in dry, brittle nails and hair follicles.
Mood Benefits of Omega-3s
- Studies have been done drawing a link between low omega-3 fatty acid levels and effects on mood stability.
Omega-3 supplements can balance mood.
Weight Management of Omega-3s
- Studies have been done drawing a correlation between Omega-3 fatty acid fish oil supplements and managing a healthy weight. In these studies, those who were found to have consumed more than 1.3 grams of omega-3 fish oil a day reported feeling fuller.
- However, more research needs to be done to expand upon these findings.
Knowing how much omega 3 fatty acids we need in order to be our physical and mental best, how are we doing as a society?
Unfortunately, Americans are not doing so great when it comes to omega-3 intake. Americans, especially children, have among the lowest dietary intakes of omega-3 in the world. In fact, it is estimated that 83% of Americans are deficient in omega-3s. This is important to know because of the correlation between omega-3 deficiencies and the development of chronic illness. Studies have shown that lower levels of omega-3s intake are associated with greater incidence of death due to coronary heart disease, a greater increase in depression, and the greater increase in unhealthy new born babies. Populations and countries where there is a greater intake in omega-3s, either through fish oil or a fish-heavy diet, have been shown to have reduced instances of these serious health issues.
The importance of a healthy diet and knowing the correlation between what we consume and our body’s performance is essential. Looking at how deficient the American public is in omega-3s and the correlation between our lack of omega 3 consumption and chronic illness, adding a fish oil supplement seems to be the most logical step to our daily routine moving forward. Adding a fish oil supplement will not only make the consumption of omega-3s more convenient for us, but it’ll give us the omega-3s that we need to maintain our bodies in the short and long term.