Do you know the importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids to our health?
I have been taking fish-oil vitamins for about four years now, since it was recommended to me for various health reasons. However, I have very little knowledge about these nutrients. In an attempt to understand how important the Omega-3 fatty acid is, and why I need this in my daily intake; this is what I found.
Why Do We Need Omega-3?
Our body cannot make these fatty acids, so we must get them through our foods. We need Omega-3 for the formation of healthy cell membranes, which include our brain and nervous system cells. These fatty acids can also regulate blood pressure, immune system, and inflammatory responses.
What Are the Types of Omega-3?
There are three types of Omega-3: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Our body uses all three of these types of Omega-3.
What Foods to Eat?
We can get EPA and DHA from fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardine, albacore tuna, and salmon. If mercury levels found in these fishes are your concern, please go to Encyclopedia for more information.
Foods such as tofu, soybeans, canola, walnuts, and flaxseed provide ALA. After the body digests these foods, it will become ALA, EPA, and DHA.
How Much Do We Need?
According to the American Heart Association, we need to have at least two servings per week. The ideal amount is still unclear for different condition in each person. Follow your doctor’s advice is often recommended to get the right dose of omega-3, since excessive amount can increase the risk of stroke, or excessive bleeding in some people.
If you cannot tolerate the fishy taste or smell, the good news is that you can find DHA added in some products at your grocery store. Look for products that have DHA supplement such as orange juice, and soymilk.
It is preferred that we get omega-3 fatty acids through our foods intake, but if you want over-the-counter fish oil capsules as a supplement, you should discuss it with your physician to get the right amount.
How Important are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain, they are crucial for the cognitive function of brain memory, and performance. They also play an essential part in our behavioral function.
The Health Benefits Include:
- Heart health for those who suffered from coronary heart disease.
- Help prevent the risk factors in cancer, and arthritis.
What are the Symptoms of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Deficiency?
- Poor memory
- Dry skin
- Mood swings
- Poor circulation
Although more research is needed to make an inconclusive claim for vision and mood, the AHA indicates the importance of fatty acids in cardiac disease.