Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that our bodies need in order to function properly. They play a vital role in maintaining our health, and can provide a range of health benefits.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, and why you should make sure they are a part of your diet!
What is Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Before we dive into the benefits of omega-fatty acids, it is important to understand what they are. Omega-fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat, and are considered to be “good” fats. Unlike saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease, omega-fatty acids actually help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega-fatty acids are found in a variety of foods, including fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
There are three main types of omega-fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is found in plant-based oils, such as flaxseed oil, while EPA and DHA are found in fish and seafood.
Top 16 Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential nutrients. This means that the body cannot make them and they must come from food. A diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids can provide a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and dementia. Here are the top 16 science-based benefits of omega-3 fatty acids:
#1 – Fight Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are common mental health disorders that can have a debilitating effect on our lives. Omega-three fatty acids have been shown to be effective in treating both conditions. One study showed that omega-three supplementation was able to reduce symptoms of depression by up to 50%! If you suffer from either condition, adding omega- three fatty acids to your diet could be a game-changer.
#2 – Improve Eye Health
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for overall health, and they can also improve eye health. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. They can also improve vision in people with diabetic retinopathy. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet is a good way to protect your eyesight.
#3 – Promote Brain Health During Pregnancy and Early Life
Omega- three fatty acids are critical for brain development. They play a role in the development of the nervous system and can also improve cognitive function. Omega- three fatty acids are especially important during pregnancy and early life, when the brain is developing at a rapid pace. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, omega-three fatty acids are an important part of your diet. Omega-three fatty acids can help to promote brain health in both you and your child.
#4 – Improve Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Omega- three fatty acids can also improve risk factors for heart disease. They can lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, and reduce inflammation. All of these things can help to improve your overall cardiovascular health. If you have heart disease, or are at risk for it, omega-three fatty acids should be a part of your diet.
#5 – Reduce Symptoms of ADHD in Children
Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements can play a role in reducing symptoms of ADHD in children. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that kids who took supplements with omega-3s had better attention spans and completed tasks more quickly than those who didn’t take the supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to help improve brain function by promoting healthy communication between cells.
#6 – Reduce Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a condition that’s marked by a cluster of symptoms, including high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, insulin resistance and abdominal obesity. Studies have shown that people with metabolic syndrome who take fish oil supplements containing omega-three fatty acids can experience improvements in their triglyceride levels and waist circumference.
#7 – Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, but it also has been linked to a host of diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, arthritis and cancer. Omega-three fatty acids are thought to help fight inflammation by reducing the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body.
#8 – Fight Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy tissue. Some examples include celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and type I diabetes. Omega-three fatty acids may help by reducing the activity of the immune system.
#9 – Improve Mental Disorders
Omega-three fatty acids are essential for brain function. They can’t be produced by the body, so we must get them from our diet. Low levels of omega-three have been linked to a variety of mental disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD and schizophrenia.
#10 – May Help Prevent Cancer
Some studies suggest that omega-three fatty acids may help prevent certain types of cancer, such as breast, colon and prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends eating fish at least twice a week to reduce the risk of developing cancer.
#11 – Reduce Asthma in Children
Omega-three fatty acids may help reduce the severity of asthma in children. One study showed that children who regularly consume fish have a lower risk of developing asthma.
#12 – Reduce Fat in Your Liver
Fatty liver is a condition in which extra fat builds up in the liver. While it often isn’t serious, it can lead to other health problems down the road if left untreated. But omega-three fatty acids may help reduce fat in your liver. A study showed that people who consumed fish oil for six months had a significant decrease in liver fat.
#13 – Improve Bone and Joint Health
Omega-three fatty acids can also help improve bone and joint health. One study showed that people who took fish oil supplements had a significant decrease in joint pain and stiffness. Another study showed that omega-three fatty acids may help prevent osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle.
#14 – Alleviate Menstrual Pain
For women, omega-three fatty acids can also help alleviate menstrual pain. One study showed that women who took fish oil supplements for three months had a significant decrease in menstrual pain.
#15 – Improve Sleep Quality
Omega-three fatty acids can also help improve sleep quality. One study showed that people who took fish oil supplements for six weeks had a significant improvement in their sleep quality.
#16 – Good For Your Skin
Omega-three fatty acids are also good for your skin. Omega-3s help to keep our skin smooth and hydrated, and they can even help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. One study showed that people who took fish oil supplements for 12 weeks had a significant improvement in their skin quality.
The human brain is 60% fat and needs a steady stream of omega-3 fatty acids to function optimally. Omega-3s are essential for cognitive development, preventing age-related mental decline, and reducing the risk of psychiatric disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. They can also improve attention span, working memory, and reaction time. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil supplements, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp hearts, and leafy green vegetables.