We’re constantly advised to include healthy fats in our daily diet. The best kind of ‘good fat’ is found in food items such as avocado, fish, chia seeds, etc. This is thanks to the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Now, what exactly is an Omega-3 fatty acid?
It’s a polyunsaturated fatty acid that is essential for the body. Before we dive into the benefits of consuming Omega-3 fatiity acids, we must understand the most common types of Omega-3s.
The types found in food are ALA, EPA, ETA, and DHA. These are the Omega-3s that are essential for the human body. However, the human body doesn’t produce it by itself; it has to be consumed from external sources. The best way to consume fatty acids is to ensure it is part of your daily diet.
In this article below, we list out 17 benefits of consuming Omega-3 fatty acids.
For clear skin and hair
Omega-3 can help keep your skin and hair healthy as well. Fats such as DHA and ETA benefit the skin by producing oil to keep the skin hydrated. It also prevents your skin from ageing prematurely and reduces the risk of acne.
For a healthy heart
Some research by the American Heart Association says that consuming fish, which is rich in Omega-3, can keep you free of cardiovascular diseases. A study conducted among fish-eating sections reveals that the presence of the AHA Omega-3 has been moderately responsible for keeping these section of people disease-free. High Triglycerides is a major culprit as it poses a high risk of heart diseases. Omega-3 is also known to regulate cholesterol levels, is instrumental in lowering high blood pressure, preventing plaque buildup in arteries and blood clots too.
Help fight mental health disease
There are many ways Omega-3 can help win the battle with mental health diseases. Depression, anxiety, Schizophrenia and ADHD can all be prevented if large doses of Omega-3 are consumed. A study conducted by the NCBI says that mental health concerns are very prevalent today and conventional help seems to be failing. It also said that people who would regularly consume huge doses of Omega-3 were less likely to suffer from mental ailments. Omega-3 supplements have also been instrumental in effectively combating depression.
Reduces ADHD in children
ADHD is an attention disorder that doesn’t allow you to focus on. This disorder is a huge concern among children in India. Several studies show that children who were diagnosed with ADHD had lesser Omega-3 present in them in comparison to their counterparts.
Inflammation is a bodily reaction to diseases and germs of any kind. By consuming a balanced and nutrient-rich diet, the body is in better shape to battle any disease or infection. A recent study by NCBI shows that Omega-3 fatty acids are highly beneficial in cutting down chronic inflammation that leads to cancer and heart diseases.
Prevents autoimmune diseases
Diseases, where the immune system misinterprets the healthy cells in your body for foreign bodies and begins to attack them, are called autoimmune diseases. Lupus, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis are all known to be autoimmune diseases. Research shows that consuming Omega-3 fatty acids when younger can prevent or reduce the risk of getting any of these diseases.
Reduces the risk of getting cancer
Cancer is a deadly disease and has a high death toll all over India. Some studies show that consuming Omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of certain cancers. Interestingly, some links show that the consumption of fatty acids has decreased the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
Another study by the Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of California, found that the curcumin, the ingredient found in turmeric, works much better in fighting off pancreatic-cancer when merged with Omega-3 fatty acids.
Supports healthy joints
Osteoporosis and arthritis are two disorders that affect the bones in the human body. Calcium is needed to strengthen bone density. Studies show that Omega-3 can enhance bone structure and bone collagen levels. Omega 3 also helps reduce the risk of arthritis. Omega-3 supplement can help reduce joint pain by reducing inflammation near the joints.
Better sleep quality
Sleep is essential for the good functioning of a body. If you sleep well, the body helps you fight diseases and keep them at bay too. Sleep deprivation is seen in children and adults who don’t consume enough Omega-3. This is because low levels of Omega-3 are linked to lower levels of melatonin, which is the hormone, needed to put you to sleep.
Helps fight menstrual pain
PMS affects about 75% of women on a monthly basis in today’s day and age. In some cases, cramps get so bad that they leave the woman exhausted. Studies show that supplementing your diet with Omega-3 helps with subduing the pain and making the cramps milder. One study even showed that supplementing your diet with fish oil (contains Omega-3) helped more than consuming a painkiller.
Can reduce the risk of premature labour
It’s essential for pregnant women to consume Omega-3 as it helps with the brain development of the infant. Omega-3 can also help with a woman carrying the child to full term. The risk of delivering an infant prematurely is greatly reduced.
Can Reduce Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic Syndrome is a combination of 3 or more life-threatening diseases, such as abdominal obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides levels, and low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). The presence of this in your body can be alarming as it indicates that your body can suffer from a stroke, heart attack, or diabetes. An NCBI research shows that supplementing Omega-3 in your diet will reduce the risk of the above diseases.
Improves eye health
The retina of the eye has a major structural component in it: DHA. A body lacking DHA can lead to impaired vision. Getting the right amount of Omega-3 helps protect from macular degeneration, which is closely linked with permanent eye damage and blindness.
Can help promote brain health and early life in babies
It’s important to consume enough of Omega-3 fatty acids into your body when you’re a child. This is due to the long chain of fatty acids found in the retina and brain. As mentioned above, DHA is needed for good eyesight, and it is essential for pregnant women to take in DHA and EPA to ensure that their offspring develop good eyesight. Not only does this benefit the eyes, but Omega-3 supplements during pregnancy promotes better brain development and health along with better hand-eye coordination, mental processing, and psychomotor skills.
Reduces asthma in children
Asthma is a chronic lung infection that affects breathing, causes shortness of breath and wheezing in children and adults. Asthma attacks can be quite severe as the airways to the lungs swell up and cause inflammation. A study by the National Institute of Biotechnology Information suggests that consumption of Omega-3 can lower the risk of asthma in children.
Reduces fat in the liver
Fatty liver is a common condition among non-alcoholic consumers. The liver starts to store more fat cells in this condition. Just like obesity, this has turned out to be the most common cause of liver disease. Consuming Omega-3 helps in the diminishing of fat cells and reduces inflammation in the liver.
Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and age-related mental decline
As you age, the decline in brain function is inevitable, but studies show that Omega-3 intake can decrease age-related mental decline and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Some small clinical trials have seen an effect of Omega-3 on people suffering from dementia as well.
What doses of Omega-3 is required for an adult?
There is no standard dose as to how much should be consumed. There are varied opinions on the dosage, but taking in about 250-500 mg of DHA and EPA is essential for healthy adults. The best source for Omega-3 is fish. Eating fish twice a week will ensure that you get the required amount of Omega-3 in.
Omega-3 is found in plants as well. ALA is found in flaxseed, soybeans, chia seeds and walnuts. Some types of egg, yoghurt, milk, soy beverages are fortified with DHA and some other Omega-3s.