Omega 3 Benefits
Before we list the Omega 3 benefits let us review the basics of essential fatty acids, or EFAs. EFAs are fatty acids that cannot be produced within our body from other components by any known chemical pathways, and therefore must be obtained from the diet or EFA supplements.
The term refers to fatty acids involved in biological processes, and not those which may just play a role as fuel.
There are two families of EFAs: ω-3 (or omega-3 or n−3) and ω-6 (omega-6, n−6). Fats from each of these families are essential, as the body can convert one omega-3 to another omega-3, for example, but cannot create an omega-3 from omega-6 or saturated fats.
Omega 3 Benefits
- Essential element for the growth and development of our bodies.
- Omega-3 fatty acids can help with certain circulatory problems by stimulating blood circulation, which increases the breakdown of fibrin, a compound involved in clot and scar formation.
- Reduces blood pressure
- Strong scientific evidence suggests that Omega−3 fatty acids reduce blood triglyceride levels and regular intake reduces the risk of secondary and primary heart attack.
- Benefits have been reported in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and cardiac arrhythmias.
- Preliminary evidence that Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation might be helpful in cases of depression and anxiety. Studies report highly significant improvement from Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation alone and in conjunction with medication.
- Several studies report possible anti-cancer effects of Omega-3 fatty acids (particularly breast, colon and prostate cancer). Omega-3 fatty acids reduced prostate tumor growth, slowed histopathological progression and increased survival.
Experts agree that the typical western diet doesn't have enough Omega 3. Thus, if you don't take EFA supplements make sure you include foods rich in Omega 3 in your daily diet.
Main dietary sources high in Omega 3 are:
- Fish - richest sources found in salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines
- Nuts - highest in Omega-3 are butternuts, walnuts, pecan nuts and hazel nuts.
- Flaxseed oil - six times richer than most fish oils in Omega-3. Flax (or linseed) and its oil are perhaps the most widely available botanical source of Omega−3.
- Dark green leafy vegetables
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Most North Americans and Europeans get too much of Omega 6 and insufficient amounts Omega 3 fatty acids.
The ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 should be 1:3, but unfortunately most western diets have a ratio of 10-20:1 in heavy favour of Omega 6.
This imbalance is not good for health. In fact, the imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may contribute to obesity, depression, dyslexia, hyperactivity and even a tendency toward violence. Bringing the fats into proper proportion can actually relieve those conditions.
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