If we search for benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, we extremely believe that they are the elixir of life.They can make you smarter, prevent heart disease, boost the memory, cut down the damages caused by smoking and help in repair of never cells and much more. So Let us find out more about these wonderful nutrients!
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids (‘essential’ because they cannot be synthesized by the human body)
From where body gets Omega 3 fatty acid?
Fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, herring, etc. Are the great sources. One form of the fatty acid called the ALA is found in soybean, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, spinach, walnuts and green Salad
Flax seeds (Telugu : Ulavalu; Hindi : Alsi ) are the highest plant source of omega 3 fatty acids. The warm and subtly nutty flavour of flaxseeds combined with a wealth of omega-3 fatty acids makes them a great addition to a healthy diet. Flax seed has been used for a very long time here in India. Also as known ‘alsi’, these little miracle seeds, are deemed as a power house of nutrition and goodness. So grab your handful of flax seed and consume it! Flax seeds consumed as a whole seed just ‘pass through’ your digestive system. As they are in the grounded form which is better absorbed. Drink water mixed with 2 tablespoons of coarsely ground flax seeds. You can also use flax seeds to your cereals, bread or milk shakes and smoothies. You can also be innovative and make some homemade vegetables or salads with them.
How Omega 3 fatty acids benefit our health?
- Prevents heart disease: A diet with low in saturated fat and rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3 fatty acids) helps in preventing the heart disease. Fish oil reduces arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), risk of stroke and helps in preventing and treat atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of artery). Fish oil supplements taken after a heart attack reduces the risk of another heart attack
- Improves blood cholesterol levels:Fish, fish oil and walnuts can decrease triglyceride levels. People who eat fatty fish tend to have increased HDL cholesterol and decreased triglycerides.
- Regulates essential physiological functions - Omega-3 fats play an important role in the production of prostaglandins which are known to regulate physiological functions like blood pressure, blood clotting, nerve transmission, allergic responses, etc.
- Reduces depression levels: People eating foods with high levels of omega-3s have lower levels of depression. Fish oil also seems to increase the effects of antidepressants and help reduce mood swings.
- Helps to improve symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Fish oil supplements EPA and DHA significantly reduces the stiffness and joint pains of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They also enhance the efficacy of anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Reduces risk of cancer: An Omega-3 fatty acid reduce the risk and prevents worsening of colon cancer. Women who eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids regularly may be less at risk to develop breast cancer and prostate cancer. Low fat diet including omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil helps prevent the development of prostate cancer.
- Increase bone strength: Omega-3 fatty acids helps in increasing calcium levels in the body and thereby improves the bone strength. People with deficiency of essential fatty acids like EPA and GLA may have more bone loss than those with normal levels of these fatty acids.
- Protects from Dementia and Alzheimer’s: Decreased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with increase in risk of dementia. Scientists believes that omega-3 fatty acid DHA is protective against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- Slows aging: Taking enough omega-3 fatty acid supplements could slow the biological process of aging.
Omega 3 fatty acid supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acid diet supplements are prepared from either fish oils or from plant sources such as flaxseed oil or oil from ocean algae.
Many food products available in the market that claims of having containing omega-3 fatty acids. But they contains a minimum amount of omega-3.
Hence its better to have a dietary supplements under the supervision of a doctor since there may be side effects and interactions with other medications you might be on your regular.
Effects of insufficient Omega 3 fatty acid in Diet
Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency may cause symptoms of fatigue, Deacrese in Memory, Swing in Mood or depression, Loose in Concentration, Dry and/or itchy skin, brittle hair and nails,Blood circulation Problem, heart and Joint Pain problems.
Does cooking affect omega-3 fatty acids in the oil?
When heated, or exposed to light, and oxygen for a long time, polyunsaturated oils including the omega-3 fatty acid, become oxidized (rancid). Rancidity alters the flavor, smell of the oil and diminishes its nutritional value. Also, the oxidation of fatty acids produces free radicals which may develop the cancer and other degenerative diseases.
Oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids should be stored in dark glass. In addition, these oils should never be heated on the stove. So, go ahead and make a salad dressing using flaxseed or walnut oil instead of sauteing your vegetables in them.
When fried, some foods containing omega-3 fatty acids appear to lose some of their health benefits. Fried fish containing omega-3s have been shown to provide less heart protection than baked or boiled fish containing the same amount of omega-3s.
Standard Proportion of Omega 3 fatty acids intek in diet
Consume at least 2 % Omega 3 fatty acids of your daily total diet. This can be done by adding just Two food in your diet Flaxseeda and Fish like Salmon or Tuna. If one loves fish then it is recommended to have at least two servings of a fatty fish per week two servings of non-fried fish per week can significantly increase the level of omega-3 fatty acids in your blood. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines, Tuna, Brown Trout and Herring.
Vegetarians should increase their intek of ALA-rich foods like flax seeds, soybean, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, spinach accordingly.