Omega 3 – What Is It?

Researchers have known for several decades now that there has been a marked increase in the number of chronic health conditions associated with Western diets. This typically comprises food that is high in refined carbohydrates, fatty foods, and all processed items, aka convenience foods. This link has sparked numerous studies in an effort to learn how to reverse these health complications.

Studies revealed that many North Americans are likely to have a deficiency in an essential fatty acid known as Omega 3. This deficiency has been associated with the increased risk of developing some very serious health conditions, such as heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, circulation problems, and much more besides.

By comparison, people eating a Mediterranean diet, which is abundant in fresh fruit, vegetables, and often contains plenty of seafood in regular meals, don’t tend to develop the same types of chronic health issues as those who consume Western diets. The same is true of those people who eat a mainly Asian style diet; once again, meals that are rich in fresh fruit and vegetables and include plenty of seafood. Japan is a prime example where its people have one of the longest life expectancies in the world.

The key to reducing your risk of developing such serious health conditions could be to find ways of adding more Omega 3 essential fatty acids into your diet.

Why the Body Needs Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

The human body isn’t capable of producing essential fatty acids on its own. Instead, it needs to derive these things from external food sources. Research conducted at the Oxford University in the UK, have shown that getting plenty of Omega 3 can help to regulate blood pressure, as well as reducing the amounts of triglycerides (the main constituents of natural fats and oils), in the blood. This results in lower blood pressure and improved blood circulation, which in turn can also help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. For those with diabetes, Omega 3 can lessen the risk of blocked arteries (blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart), which goes a long way towards reducing the chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

Studies have also shown that the immune system is naturally strengthened, and that means catching fewer many colds, flu, and other common infections.

On top of all this, researchers at the University of Illinois ascertained that people with a deficiency in Omega 3 fatty acids are more likely to have issues with infertility. This manifests as a low sperm count in men and the potential of hormonal imbalances in women.

Omega 3 Working on the Outside

There are also health benefits that show on the outside to consider. Omega 3 fatty acids actually help your skin and hair become much healthier. It’s easier for your skin to retain moisture from the inside so that it appears smoother and softer on the out. The same is true for hair growth.

When you consider all the health benefits that Omega 3 fatty acids offer, it really is surprising that most people aren’t looking for ways to get more of this essential acid into their daily meals.

Sources of Omega 3

The world’s richest known sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are found in seafood. This includes the following marine-based sources:

  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Barramundi
  • Flathead
  • Snapper
  • Mullet
  • Whiting
  • Herrings
  • Sea Bass
  • Squid
  • Octopus
  • Prawns/Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Mussels
  • Oysters

It’s also possible to get more Omega 3 fatty acids into your diet through plant sources. Even though plant-based foods don’t offer such high concentrations as seafood, they still help. The best options include:

  • Soy beans
  • Broccoli
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Linseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Flaxseed oil

The biggest problem with trying to increase the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids you consume is that you really do need to eat a good amount of these foods on a regular, ongoing basis in order to see any real benefits. Aside from this, buying lots of fresh fish and seafood can be quite expensive in many parts of the country. There’s also the possibility that you may not enjoy eating fish and seafood habitually, and there will be others that just don’t like fish and seafood period. When these things become issues, it becomes necessary to find alternative ways to increase your Omega 3 intake, and fortunately, there are other options.

One such option is Omega 3 DHA supplements. When taken as suggested, they can become a vital part of your overall health.

The Health Benefits of Omega 3 Supplements

It’s possible to get your daily intake levels of Omega 3 fatty acids by taking fish oil supplements. These are created using specific types of fish where all the healthy essential acids we need are extracted and placed into capsules.

Omega 3 supplements are contained in an easy-to-take gel-cap form, which is basically a soluble case of gelatin. You simply take your supplements each day knowing that you’re increasing your intake of essential fatty acids and consequently helping your body perform at optimum levels.

Unfortunately, not all supplements are equal, meaning they’re not created in the same way. In fact, it’s possible that quality levels will vary greatly, depending on the brand you choose.

Before you buy any fish oil supplements, it’s vitally important that you look for the freshest possible ingredients. Remember that these supplements are created using fish, so it’s vital that the fish used, are caught in uncontaminated and unpolluted waters. This ensures that levels of heavy metals found in some fish, such as lead or mercury, are kept to an absolute minimum. It’s also crucial that all fish caught are processed within 24 hours so as to reduce oxidization levels.