Omega 3 fatty acids are wonderful nutrients that we need to stay healthy. Studies have established the role of these fatty acids for improving the function of several organs. Omega 3 fatty acids are types of unsaturated fatty acids. Alpha linolenic acid or ALA, eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA and docosahexaenoic acid or DHA are members of the omega 3 fatty acids group.
Omega 3 fatty acids for fetal development
Intake of omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy helps in fetal development. Researchers have observed that taking omega 3 fatty acids supplements during pregnancy could reduce the risk of asthma and eczema in the babies. Studies have also shown that children, whose mothers consumed omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy, displayed better learning skills in school.
Omega 3 fatty acids are extremely good for the heart. This heart friendly nutrient increases the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol level in the blood. Low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol and the triglyceride levels in the bloodstream could be reduced with the intake of omega 3 fatty acids. Intake of omega 3 fatty acids could prevent atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis narrows and stiffens blood vessels leading to cardiovascular diseases, strokes and heart attacks.
Reduces arthritis pain
Studies have shown that intake of omega 3 fatty acids could reduce arthritis pain. Regular intake of omega 3 fatty acids could reduce stiffness and inflammation of the joints.
Some studies claim that regular intake of omega 3 fatty acids could reduce the symptoms of asthma.
Although there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that omega 3 fatty acids could be beneficial for treating depression, some studies have shown that depression including postpartum and childhood depression could be treated with omega 3 fatty acids.
Risk of colon, prostate and breast cancers could be reduced with regular intake of omega 3 fatty acids.
Sources of omega 3 fatty acids
Fish oil is the best source of omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that cold-water oily fish are the richest sources of these essential fatty acids. To prevent omega 3 deficiency, you should have at least two portions of salmon, tuna, sardine, mackerel or similar oily fish once a week. This essential nutrient is also found in certain plants. Flaxseeds are a potential source of omega 3 fatty acid. You could also find this nutrient in most beans, nuts and seeds. Papaya, spinach, broccoli, cauliflowers and winter squash also contain this nutrient.