What are Omega-3’s?
Omega 3 fatty acids are part of the essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce and hence are needed to be taken through diet. They belong to the group polyunsaturated fatty acids or commonly referred to as PUFA. There are three types of Omega 3’s that are required by our body to maintain good health –eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and alpha linolenic acid (ALA). These fatty acids have recently grabbed much attention because of their beneficial properties.
Sources of Omega-3’s
- Fish is the most widely available source of EPA and DHA. Oils from fish such as Salmons, Sardines, tuna, etc all contain high amounts of Omega-3’s. However, fish does not synthesize ome-3’s, they obtain them by consuming planktons and algae.
- Walnut and flaxseeds are excellent sources of ALA, as well as mustard, Brussels sprout and cauliflower.
- Eggs, meat, cheese, yogurt are also a good source of omega 3, given the animals are fed with omega 3 rich diet.
- Krill oil is also a source of omega 3 fatty acid. It contains EPA and DHA.
- Other sources of omega 3’s are vegetables like spinach, lettuce, beans; fruits like strawberries and raspberries; legumes like soybean.
Benefits of Omega 3’s
- Omega 3 fatty acids form an integral part of the cell membrane and help in the functioning of cell receptors that regulate genetic functions.
- They aid in the production of hormones that help in regulating blood clotting, inflammation, contraction and relaxation of artery walls.
- Omega 3 fatty acids have been reported to prevent heart and cardiovascular diseases.
- It normalizes and regulates cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Both fish and krill oil are known for this beneficial quality.
- DHA levels affect the memory and learning potential of small children.
- Omega 3 fatty acids are also known to prevent rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
- They are also shown to cure autoimmune disorders, increase general brain functioning, and treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Recently they have been shown to improve health of Cancer patients.
Consumption and possible risks of Omega 3’s
Regular consumption of omega 3 fatty acids proves much beneficial for a number of health issues both major and minor. A number of Supplements are available in the market, which contains omega 3 fatty acids. Supplements are effective and can be consumed in place of fish due to the increasing pollution factors in marine environments. However, taking too much supplements can prove to be risky as they can reduce the effectiveness of your immune system.
A balanced ratio should be maintained for intake of both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. The over dosage can lead to the inflammation and constriction of the blood vessels.
Omega 3 fatty acids have been proved to be of high importance and should be included in your diet in balanced quantities. Consult your physician about the dosage of omega 3 fatty acids you should take.