Omega 3…we often see this advertised on the side of certain products... “High in Omega 3”
We see it on various fish products (the reason why fish is called ‘brainfood'), flaxseed products or standalone Omega 3 supplements. Personally I’ve either supplemented with Omega 3 or if not, aimed to eat foods that are high in it, for some time now.
After looking more deeply into it, I believe we really should seriously consider consciously eating foods high in Omega 3 regularly (or supplementing with it) to get a decent dose throughout the week.
Here I'm going to outline what I’ve found through my research.
So, What is Omega 3?
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid (EFA). Meaning that your body cannot make Omega 3 itself or make it from other food sources, it needs to come from your diet. There has been a lot of research on Omega 3, highlighting that it has an important role to play in human nutrition.
Omega 3 exists in three main types:
- ALA (found in certain plants and seeds such as flax)
- EPA and DHA – these two are both commonly found in fish (although not exclusively).
ALA does have its place, although from the research it seems to look as though EPA & DHA are the forms which make the biggest difference so that’s where I’ve focused here, feel free to read about ALA online.
What Does Omega 3 Help With?
A fair bit, actually!
There’s a lot of hype about certain ingredients, some of which I’m unsure about, however Omega 3 seems to be very good. I don’t think it’s going to excite anybody as the effects aren’t going to be noticed immediately…however for people looking for long term health benefits, this may be something well worth considering.
What Are Some of the Potential Benefits?
- Brain Health, linked to improving mood disorders/depression (DHA is a primary constituent of the brain)
- Decreasing inflammation
Then there are benefits for the eyes, skin, heart and the immune system too - although we’ll stick with these two for now!
DHA which is in Omega 3, is found in high quantities in the brain (especially memory & cell membranes) so it stands to reason that consuming foods with DHA in is pretty important.
Protein assists the maintenance and growth of muscle (as muscle is made with protein), but when do you hear about consuming DHA for the brain even though the brain is high in DHA? Never!
Inflammation is a natural aspect of healing, it helps us to heal properly. Although, excessive inflammation is not good, Arthritis is an example of chronic inflammation that Omega 3 (through extensive research) has been found to help with. So, for those who work out a lot…Omega 3 may be a worthwhile supplement to assist with the healing process too.
For me, the benefits to the brain are reason enough. However if it can also have a decent effect upon certain inflammation related conditions, then it’s worth factoring it into your diet and consuming more foods and/or supplements that contain Omega 3.