Omega-3 fatty acids are essential dietary fats that play an important role in health and some disease treatments. In our practice we talk about these a lot and commonly will use highly purified forms for patients. These provide many benefits for various bodily functions and systems. So how can these help our overall health and wellbeing?
Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels, lowering blood pressure, preventing plaque build-up, and improving overall heart function.
Brain and Nerve functions:
Omega-3 fatty consumption is associated with improved cognitive function, memory, and mood regulation and neuropathy prevention and treatment. These may also reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
Inflammation and Joint Health:
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties which often help conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and otherwise effectively treat joint pain and stiffness.
One of the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, is an important structural component of the retina. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids supports eye health and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. Mental Health:
Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce depression and anxiety. Their intake assists treatment of other mental illnesses.
Pregnancy and Infant Development:
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for your baby's brain and eye development during pregnancy. Consumption may reduce the risk of premature birth, support healthy fetal growth, and improve cognitive development in infants.
How can I Get These In My Diet?
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout and tuna are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Algal oil extracted from seaweed is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. A good option for those practicing a vegetarian or vegan diet. Ground flaxseeds can be added to smoothies, cereals, or baked goods. Chia seeds are also his source of plant-based ALA. You can sprinkle it on yogurt or oatmeal, or mix it in smoothies.
Seeds, nuts and grains: Walnuts are a great source of ALA and can be enjoyed as a snack or added to salads, oatmeal, and baked goods. Hemp seeds can be added to smoothies and salads or any other place you like.
Ideally, we should get our omega-3s through a healthy diet, but some dietary supplements and medications are also available for specific disease treatments and for those who find it difficult to meet their omega-3 needs through diet alone.
Like every dietary component or food supplement though there can be risks. In a couple days we'll discuss these in great detail.
*As always, follow your physicians advice carefully. Self treatment and OTC supplements can be dangerous.
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