Omega 3 can be obtained through the consumption of foods of plant and animal origin and their positive effects on health are numerous and important: against fatty liver, heart disease and metabolic syndrome, a better development of the fetus, for the eyes … Today, I invite you to know 15 benefits of science-backed omega 3 fatty acids that will help you protect your health and that of your family.
What is Omega 3?
Omega 3, or omega-3 fatty acids, is a family of essential fatty acids so named because they cannot be synthesized by the human organism. They are necessary for vital functions and the only way to obtain them is through food. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, that is, they are composed of several double bonds, and they are mainly classified into 3 fatty acids:
ALA: alpha-linolenic acid.
It is mostly found in plant-based foods and needs to be converted into EPA or DHA in order to be used by the body.
DHA: Docosahexaenoic acid.
It is mostly found in animal foods and is essential for brain development.
EPA: eicosapentaenoic acid.
It is mostly found in animal foods and can reduce inflammation.
What is Omega 3 for?
Omega-3 fatty acids have several purposes. They are structural molecules that are found in cell membranes, especially in the brain and their consumption is associated with better neurological health, decreased depression and a lower risk of dementia.
“They also play an essential role in other cellular processes such as inflammation, immunity and blood clotting”.
Let’s see in more detail what benefits the intake of omega-3 fatty acids brings to the health of the body and the body.
15 Benefits of Omega 3:
1. Metabolic Syndrome:
Metabolic syndrome is a set of symptoms that significantly increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Some of these symptoms include:
- Hypertension: high blood pressure.
- Hypertriglyceridemia: high triglyceride levels.
- Fasting hyperglycemia: high fasting glucose levels.
- Abdominal obesity: excess abdominal fat.
- Low levels of HDL cholesterol.
According to the data provided by the research, increasing the consumption of omega 3 fatty acids reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels, prevents the appearance of clots in the arteries and reduces blood pressure
2. Fatty Liver:
Fatty liver disease, or hepatic steatosis, is a disease characterized by the accumulation of fat and triglycerides in liver cells. It is one of the main causes of liver disease in both children and adults and is due to an insulin resistance disorder in which the liver produces excess glucose and triglycerides. There is scientific evidence that supplementation with omega-3 or the intake of foods rich in omega 3 decreases the accumulation of fat in the liver and the inflammation caused by this disease in people with fatty liver
3. Brain Development of the Fetus:
As I mentioned earlier, omega 3 fatty acids are part of the structure of the human brain and the retina and, therefore, are essential during the period of gestation of the fetus. Experts have concluded that the mother’s diet before conception of the baby is essential to determine the kind of fats that will accumulate in the tissues of the fetus, since omega-3 fatty acids pass to this through the placenta. Obtaining high levels of omega 3 during pregnancy brings numerous and important benefits to the child, including:
- Greater visual acuity.
- Greater capacity for learning, concentration, communication and sociability.
- Less morbidity
- Greater intelligence
- Lower risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism and paralysis.
- Lower risk of developing delays.
On the contrary, the lack or lack of omega-3 is associated with vision problems, lower levels of intelligence and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases
4. Menstrual Pains:
Dysmenorrhea is the name that receives painful menstruation in women. The pain, caused by contractions caused by hormonal changes before the menstrual period, occurs in the lower abdomen and pelvis and, sometimes, is also reflected in the lower back. It has been shown that the consumption of foods rich in omega 3 or omega 3 supplements significantly reduces the pain caused by menstruation and is even more effective than the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen
5. Depression and Anxiety:
The depression is a mental disorder characterized by loss of interest in life and daily activities for low mood and a feeling of sadness and fatigue. On the other hand, anxiety is also a mental disorder that consists of excessive and permanent worry, fear and nervousness. According to several studies, the intake of omega 3 fatty acids can significantly reduce the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. Also, of the 3 main classes of omega-3 that exist, the so-called EPA proves to be the most effective in treating depression and appears to be even more effective than the antidepressant drug Prozac
6 .Cardiovascular Diseases:
Numerous studies have found evidence that an increase in the consumption of omega 3 fatty acids improves markers that promote the onset of cardiovascular diseases. These are some of the positive effects of omega 3 in the body.
- It prevents the formation of blood clots by preventing platelets from accumulating.
- Reduces blood pressure levels in hypertensive people.
- It decreases the production of certain substances that are secreted before an inflammatory response.
- It reduces triglycerides and increases HDL cholesterol.
- Prevents plaque that clogs and hardens arteries.
However, that omega 3 improves risk factors for heart disease does not mean that its consumption can prevent strokes or heart attacks. In fact, several experts have not found evidence of this, so it is still necessary to carry out additional studies that confirm or discard these data.
7. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):
ADHD is a disorder that begins in childhood and is characterized by difficulties in maintaining attention, hyperactivity or excessive movement and impulsivity or difficulties in impulse control. It has been found that omega 3 fatty acid supplements help increase attention span and decrease states of violence, impulsivity, hyperactivity and agitation. In a 6-month study in which omega 3 fatty acids were administered to several groups of children with ADHD, symptoms were reduced by 47% of participants. Similarly, it has been observed that children with ADHD have lower levels of omega 3 than their healthy peers
Cancer is a serious disease characterized by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells and is one of the leading causes of death in the West. According to some studies, those who consume large amounts of omega-3 are up to 50% less likely to suffer from colon cancer. It has also been found that omega-3 fatty acids also reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer, although the results are not entirely conclusive.
9. Mental Disorders:
People who suffer from mental and psychiatric disorders have lower levels of omega 3 than other people, and hence there have been numerous investigations in this regard. The latest data have confirmed that the intake of omega 3 fatty acid supplements is an effective method to reduce the frequency of ups and downs and emotional relapses suffered by people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. And if that were not enough … There is also some evidence that omega 3 decreases violent behavior.
Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs because of certain diseases and affects memory, thinking, language, judgment and behavior. In case you had forgotten, omega 3 fatty acids are part of the structure of the brain, and, therefore, its consumption has been associated with a lower risk of suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Reduced levels of DHA are related to an increased risk of vision problems, mainly macular degeneration. And is that this essential fatty acid is a component of both the brain and the retina of the eye that cannot be missing in your body if you want to preserve your eyesight in good condition.
Inflammation is a protective mechanism of our body that helps us fight foreign invaders and plays a vital role in repairing damage. Without inflammation, pathogens such as bacteria could invade our body and kill us. However, when the acute inflammation is prolonged too much it can become chronic and attack the body’s own tissues, causing various diseases. According to multiple studies, high levels of omega 3 may decrease the production of substances and molecules that cause inflammation
Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by recurrent attacks of dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from one person to another. Symptoms may appear several times a day or week and in some people they get worse during physical activity or at night. During an asthma attack, the lining of the bronchi becomes inflamed, which causes a narrowing of the airways and a decrease in the flow of air entering and leaving the lungs. The consumption of fatty fish, rich in omega 3, or the intake of omega 3 supplements has proven to be an effective treatment that prevents asthma in both children and adults.
14. Bones and Joints:
The Osteoporosis is a widespread disease in Western countries is characterized by deterioration of the bone tissue and is very common in older women. The RA corresponds to a complex disorder characterized by autoimmune marked inflammation and progressive destruction of the tissues that form the joints. Both diseases, which affect the bone system, can be improved through the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, which increase the levels of calcium present in the bones and reduce some markers of inflammation associated with arthritis. In other words, the intake of omega-3 can increase the strength of bones and joints, thus preventing the onset of osteoporosis and arthritis.
It has been found that low levels of omega-3 in the body cause sleep problems in both children and adults. And lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of tiredness and fatigue, an increase in appetite and cravings and a reduction in the motivation to exercise and eat healthy. In addition, not sleeping well increases the risk of obesity in children by 89% and by 55% in adults. For these reasons, any natural remedy that is effective against bad sleep is important and, according to studies, omega-3 supplements help increase the quality and duration of sleep.
Foods with Omega 3:
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in a wide variety of animal and plant foods. Undoubtedly, the biggest source of omega 3 is fatty fish and shellfish, which includes fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, sardines, herring, eels, sturgeon, prawns and much more. The fish oils such as cod liver oil or seaweed are also rich sources of omega-3 acids. Also, the meat , the eggs and dairy products from animals fed grass have significant amounts of omega – 3. Regarding plant-based foods, several vegetables such as cabbage, purslane or spinach and numerous seeds and nuts such as flaxseed or flaxseed and its oil, nuts, chia seeds stand out for their content of omega-3 , hemp seeds or soybeans.