Did you know that the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include promoting eye, brain, and heart health? If not, read on to learn 11 reasons why you should consume these healthy fats.
Calcium is crucial for strong bones, protein supports growth and development, and carbohydrates provide energy. In addition to these essential nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids are vital for survival. Omega-3s are powerful healthy fats that play a key role in cell structure, energy, and maintaining the proper function of your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and immune system. Omega-3 is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that contributes to overall good health. Since they are essential for your health and your body can’t produce them, omega-3s should be a part of your diet. Read on to learn all the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and where you can get them.
What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fats crucial for maintaining optimal health. They play a vital role in various bodily functions, particularly in the development and function of the brain, heart, and immune system. There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Deepika Jayaswal, a consultant dietitian and nutritionist, says, “ALA is primarily found in plant-based sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. However, the body has limited ability to convert ALA into EPA and DHA, making direct consumption of EPA and DHA-rich foods or supplements is important. EPA and DHA are abundant in fish oil and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in algae-based supplements.”
Health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids
1. Promotes heart health
Omega-3s, particularly EPA and DHA, are known to reduce triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood associated with an increased risk of heart disease. They help lower blood pressure by improving arterial function and reducing inflammation in blood vessels. Additionally, they help prevent the formation of blood clots, which collectively lowers the risk of heart disease.
2. Supports brain function
DHA, a crucial component of the brain’s cell membranes, is particularly responsible for memory and cognitive function. A study published by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute found that omega 3 is associated with better mental health performance. It suggests that maintaining optimal DHA levels through omega-3 consumption may contribute to a lower risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disorders.
3. Anti-inflammatory properties
Chronic inflammation is linked to various diseases, including heart disease and arthritis. Omega-3s, especially EPA, have anti-inflammatory properties that are useful for managing inflammation and autoimmune disease.
4. Good for joint health
The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3s are beneficial for your joints. It helps provide relief for those with inflammatory joint conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and other joint-related conditions. These fatty acids may reduce stiffness and pain, especially during the winter, improving overall joint function.
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5. Reduces eye disease risk
Omega 3 fatty acids may offer the most benefits to your eye health. A study published by Nutrients found that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids provide long-term benefits for several chronic ocular conditions, including dry eye disease, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
6. Improves sleep cycle
Sleep deprivation is linked to several diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and depression. Incorporating omega-3-rich foods may contribute to better sleep quality and duration. It has been found that omega-3 plays a role in the production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for regulating sleep.
7. Skin benefits
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for the skin. They help regulate the skin’s oil production and prevent dehydration. These functions not only minimise the risk of premature ageing and breakout but also manage inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.
8. Regulates mood
In a study published in the Global Health Journal, dietary deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids were found to be linked to an increased risk of developing various psychiatric disorders. In particular, EPA and DHA have been linked to better mental health and may reduce the risk of depression and other mood-related problems.
9. Helps in weight management
One of the various health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is weight management. They may help with it by promoting fat loss, particularly abdominal fat. Additionally, they help regulate appetite and reduce inflammation, contributing to an overall healthier body composition.
10. Boosts immune system
Apart from benefiting the eye, heart, and brain, omega-3s contribute to a robust immune system by enhancing the function of immune cells. They help regulate inflammation and support the body’s defense mechanisms, helping in the prevention of infections and diseases.
11. Cancer prevention
While research on omega-3s and cancer prevention is ongoing, a study published by Breast Cancer Research suggests a potential protective effect against certain types of cancer, including breast cancer.
So make sure your daily omega-3 fatty acid intake is on track to keep diseases at bay!