You always hear about omega-3s but what does it all mean and what benefits do these fatty acids have?
When you hear the word ‘fat’ and ‘food’, you often believe this will mean the food is bad because fat is bad for you. Well, this is actually not true as omega-3s are in fact some of the most crucial fatty acids we need, and are comprised of three types, EPA, ALA and DHA, which you may have heard of. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function well, but also they deliver some big health benefits but the key lies in a general understanding of the fats, and in knowing which ones to include in your diet.
Omega 3s are “essential” fatty acids, because they are necessary for health and must be included in your diet as unfortunately, our body cannot make them on its own.
Overall, omega-3 fats help to reduce inflammation and increase cognitive function. Aside from these, omega-3s are also great for:
1. Rheumatoid arthritis
Fish oil studies have shown that it can help those with rheumatoid arthritis. Taking it daily can reduce the time of morning stiffness felt commonly by sufferers. This means that those who choose to take fish oil can then reduce their reliance on steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), therefore reducing any stress on the body that these drugs cause.
2. Heart disease
There is evidence that suggests those already suffering heart disease are at a reduced risk of complications when fish oil is taken on a daily basis. Omega 3 and its beneficial fatty acids assist in the continuation of healthy heart activities and limit blood clotting. For these reasons, fish oil can also be used to prevent heart disease.
3. Cholesterol/blood pressure
Triglycerides are found in the blood and are responsible of transfer of fat and sugars in and out of the liver. However, high concentrations of these contribute significantly to heart disease. Research has shown that taking fish oil daily can be responsible for reducing triglycerides between 20 to 50 per cent.
4. Alzheimer’s and dementia
Many people have heard that fish oil is a brain food. That’s because the research shows that fish oil has the ability to improve thinking skills and brain accuracy. What’s more is that the oil can help with other thinking disorders such as depression, and reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Skin irritation/Psoriasis
Fish oil can limit the swelling and itching of skin conditions that cause irritation and rashes.
6. Strengthens immune system
By boosting your white blood cell count with fish oil, you can fight off infections and bacteria, which is crucial in your later years.
7. Reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis
UK research has shown that Omega 3 fish oil can reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, a large problem in over 60s. Joint pain can be cut in half by a regular intake of fish oil.
According to WebMD, some researchers have found that those with diets high in omega-3s have lower levels of depression. Fish oil also has been shown to boost the effects of antidepressants. If anything, it can just make you feel good within as antidepressants can lead to loss of appetite.
9. Kidney stones
Omega-3 fatty acids may prevent the formation of kidney stones.
10. Prostate cancer survival
Fish consumption is associated with a 63 per cent reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality.
So where can you get omega-3s from?
- salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed)
- lake trout
- fish oil tablets/supplements/liquid
While there are clearly a number of great benefits to taking fish oil, it has to be noted that taking too much fish oil can be harmful to your body. Not to worry though, taking the recommended dosage of 1 – 2 tablets a day will have you feeling fantastic in no time at all.
Tell us, do you take fish oil and/or eat a lot of omega-3 fatty foods? What benefits have you seen?