It is a general assumption that fat is not a good thing. A misplaced notion too has started creeping into minds of many individuals who believe that food in their diet should only be rich in protein and vitamins and carbs. Agreed that excess fat makes one obese that may open the door to many more diseases related to heart and other organs, never the less fat too is as essential to our bodies just like protein and carbs. Ignoring fat rich food products is not a solution. Fatty acids are the building blocks of fats in our bodies. Fatty acids are found in fat rich foods but in different combinations. Based on the number of Hydrogen atoms that are attached to carbon atoms in a chain, they can be classified as saturated, monosaturated or polysaturated. We have heard a lot about Omega 3 fatty acids benefits, but let us understand them a bit more.
Omega 3 fatty acids fall under polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is also known as ω-3 fatty acids or n-3 fatty acids. There are many Omega 3 fatty acids benefits as they are essential fatty acids and are required for our body to function in a normal way. These fats help in proper function of the cells in the body but cannot be found or produced within the body, so it become essential to include them in our diet which can be done by being aware of sources of omega 3 fatty acids and incorporating them in our daily foods.
Omega 3 fatty acids are of three types that are:
-ALA -EPA -DHA
Let us see the Benefits of omega 3 fatty acids-
Treating inflammatory diseases:
Inflammation helps us to fight against infections from alien organisms like the dreaded bacteria and viruses. However if the inflammation does not leave after a long time, then it is a source of worry as they are said to invite cancer and heart diseases. Here one of the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids come into play as they are known to reduce the generation of molecules that are related to the causes of inflammation. Many studies have shown that, more the intake of omega 3 fatty acids, lesser are the chances of a prolonged inflammation.
Development and function of brain:
The primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina is Docosahexaenoic acid. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid and makes up 40 percent of the polysaturated fatty acids in the brain. It also makes up 60 percent of the polysaturated fatty acids in the retina of the eye. This shows how immense are the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids. Adequate intake of omega 3 fatty acids are also recommended for pregnant ladies.
Fights autoimmune diseases:
When someone if afflicted with autoimmune diseases, then their immune system start deviating from general behaviour and the response becomes abnormal. The immune system starts attacking the cells that are considered healthy in your body. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to fight some autoimmune diseases.
Reduces mental health deterioration:
It has been observed that people affected with psychiatric disorders have low omega 3 levels in them. Adequate consumption of omega 3 fatty acid helps in reduction of mood fluctuations and also a decrease in violent behaviour.
Helps in fighting Alzheimer’s disease:
Aging tends to slows down the normal functions of brain. Intake of omega 3 fatty acids helps in decreasing age linked decline of mental health. It also helps in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
When omega 3 is taken in, it breaks down into other molecules that also play important roles in the brain. Some protect cells from
Possibility of prevention of cancer:
Death has many names and one of its most dreaded names include cancer that has claimed many a lives in the world. Omega 3 fatty acids are said to reduce the risk of certain cancers like colon cancer in men and breast cancer in women.
Helps in reducing fat in liver
While it is normal to have some fat in the liver, but more fat than the required can create issues to health and this is also known as fatty liver. High alcohol consumption is considered to be one of the reasons for fatty liver. It has been claimed that omega 3 fatty acids reduce liver fat in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Helps in bone and joint health
Our skeletal system is majorly affected by disorders like osteoporosis and arthritis. Studies suggest that omega 3 fatty acids help in improving bone health by adding in the amount of calcium which helps to ward of risks like osteoporosis. Omega 3 also help in reducing joint pains.
For a healthy life a good sleep is a must as our bodies are similar to engines. Engines are shut down when they heat up and overwork so that they gain back normalcy. Omega 3 fatty acids, as per studies, aid in getting a good sleep. A study has claimed that having higher levels of DHA, a type of omega 3 fatty acid, is linked with a better sleep. Omega 3 fatty acids with omega 6 fatty acids have been said to play key roles in the regulation of sleep.
Lowers the risk of heart disease
EPA and DHA type Omega 3 fatty acids help in reducing the risk of heart diseases or heart attack. It is also said that they play a role in reducing blood pressure. Many physicians advice their patients to consume a healthy diet that also makes two servings of fatty fish a part of it. Fatty fish and seafood are a main source of EPA and DHA and also come with protein and other essential nutrients in it.
Some findings suggest that people with heart failure may benefit from omega 3 fish oil supplements.
Omega 3 fatty acids for skin and omega 3 fatty acids for hair have their own benefits that are given below:
Hair that are healthy:
Proper nutrition helps in making your hair shiny and healthy and make us feel confident. Bad hair is a problem that affects people in all countries who end up spending a lot on chemicals. One of the many omega 3 fatty acids benefits include that they nourish the hair follicles making them stronger and shinier. Hair that are naturally good due to recommended diet items should be made a part of our daily lives.
Skin that glows:
Fatty acids are known to be good for skin and they also revitalize skin. Healthy cell membrane give us a soft and moist skin.
Omega 3 supports healthy skin by:
-Our skin produces a lot of oil. One of the types of omega 3 fatty acid (EPA) helps in managing production of oil in skin.
-EPA is good to help against ageing of skin.
-EPA also take cares of acne as it plays a role in managing oil production as discussed earlier.
-Dehydrated skin creates more oil which as we know are a good ground for rashes and acnes. EPA controls the hydration of the skin.
Omega 3 fatty acids benefits can be availed by knowing all the sources that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Let us take a look at few:
Tofu is a very popular food source when we talk of weight loss training programmes. Of late it has been adapted by health conscious individuals of all ages. One another benefit that it offers is its omega 3 nutrients. One cup of tofu that approximately weighs 250 grams contain 804 milligrams of omega 3 in it. Tofu can be used in salads or other dishes. Not many consider it tasty, but it certainly comes loaded with many good nutrients.
Cheese is a favourite amongst people of all ages. Cheese is mainly composed of fat and protein, and a cup of cheese approximately that weights 130 grams contains 482 milligrams of omega 3 in it. Cheese can easily become a part of your diet as we can use cheese in a variety of food items. Some eat it as a snack, like garlic cheese bread, olive cheese bread or just a cheese toast in the oven.
Another source that provides omega 3 fatty acids benefits is a mustard seed. They are the small round seeds of mustard plants and the seeds may be yellowish white in colour or black. A small teaspoon provides about 100 milligrams of omega 3 fatty acids. Mustard seed can be made a part of your diet through recipes like mustard seeds rice, mustard seeds dip sauce. A typical cabbage curry can added with mustard seeds while its preparation.
Dry fruits are a liked by one and all and we consume them many times. They are a bit high on the price but easy to eat as they even come handful. One of the dry fruits – walnut also has the properties of antioxidants. Walnuts are another good source that provide omega 3 fatty acids benefits. A quarter cup full of walnuts provides 2,500 milligrams of omega 3 fatty acids which is quit huge and also the most provided by any other nuts.
Walnuts also help in reducing blood pressure. They also come loaded with fats and protein and those into body building generally tend to eat a diet where dry fruits become a mandatory part.
Flaxseed oil can be used in salads as they provide us with omega 3 fatty acids benefits. A tablespoon of flaxseed oil gives 7,300 milligrams of omega 3 fatty acids. Flax oil can be used in soups. It can also be used in vegetable curries like mushroom onion gravy.
Lentils are a staple diet for many south Asian countries and apart from being inexpensive, Red lentils also a good source that providing omega 3 fatty acids benefits. A cup of raw red lentils generates 480 milligrams of omega 3 fatty acids. Some of the popular items made from red lentils include, baked red lentil falafel salad or a water curry of red lentils.
Non Vegetarian sources:
Recommended by many and very popular for having omega 3 fatty acids in them, fish is one of the best sources that can be consumed by anyone as it is quite a popular dish in many countries. People eat it as a snack, some eat it a little fried and some create a dish to be consumed with rice. A couple of slices provide you with your daily requirement of omega 3 fatty acids. Some delicious omega 3 rich dishes include tuna and green bean salad
We all love eggs in all its forms. Hens that are fed diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids (like flaxseed) produce eggs that are high in omega 3 when compared to other hens. So if you consume omega 3 eggs they prove to be more beneficial. Hard boiled eggs have been recommended to get the nutrients in the best form, be it protein or omega 3 itself.
It has been recommended to get omega 3 fatty acids from whole foods like fish, two times in a week for a good health. Those who do not eat foods rich in omega 3s can take omega 3 supplements. Incorporating omega 3 in your diet is not a big challenge as they are easily available and not priced very high and provide us with so many benefits. With plenty of options around us it is not difficult to cater to our needs regardless of the food habits like veg or non-veg.