While eliminating trans fats and cutting back on saturated is a great way to improve heart health and cut calories, our bodies still require certain fats in order to function optimally. The consumption of sufficient Omega 3 fatty acids is imperative to our well being. The healthy fatty acids that are found in cold water fish, flax seeds, leafy greens and a number of other food sources offer many valuable health benefits.
The human brain and central nervous system are made up of DHA which is one of the fatty acids found in Omega 3’s. Ensuring adequate DHA consumption through the diet is crucial to brain development and the function of the central nervous system, which is responsible for every process and function of our bodies. A deficiency in DHA can result in a decline in cognitive function, neurotransmitter upset, poor memory and many other undesirable outcomes.
The Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA have been shown to reduce inflammation. Inflammation in the body contributes to numerous ailments and autoimmune diseases such as depression, cancer, Crohn’s disease, lupus and coronary heart disease just to name a few. Many patients requiring medication to control a number of inflammation related diseases have seen an improvement in symptoms simply by supplementing their diets with fish and krill oil.
Omega 3 fats are considered to be extremely beneficial to heart and cardiovascular health by helping to lower triglycerides, reduce blood clots and lower blood pressure. They can also reduce the risk of heart rythm abnormalities which means fewer occurrences of sudden cardiac death. Due to the positive effect these fats have on the cardiovascular system and brain health, they may help to significantly reduce the risk of not only heart attacks, but strokes as well.
A strong correlation has been discovered between fish oil consumption and a reduction in the symptoms of depression, bi polar disorder and post partum depression. The Omega 3 fats EPA and DHA may have an effect on neurotransmitters, acting in a similar way to some medications. Although more research needs to be done on this, so far the findings are positive. Some people have found a marked improvement in symptoms with a combination of fish or krill oil supplements and regular exercise.
In recent years there have been numerous studies done on the effects of Omega 3’s and weight loss. Although it may seem detrimental to fight fat with fat, the subjects of varying studies have been shown to experience a very modest increase in fat loss than those that took part in the placebo group. While the jury is still out on how exactly omega 3 fats aid in fat loss, it certainly can’t hurt to try it. There are so many other exceptional benefits of supplementing Omega 3 fatty acids that improved body composition is simply a bonus.
How to make sure you’re getting your share of Omega 3
Omega 3 fats are found in fish, plant and nut oils. DHA and EPA are the 2 most beneficial components of Omega 3 fats. ALA, which is found mainly in the plant and nut, based sources, although a healthy option needs to be converted by the body into DHA and EPA. This process does not always occur very efficiently so it is best to consume the majority of Omega 3’s through sea life. Krill oil is one of the best sources of DHA and EPA available. Krill are crustaceans, similar to shrimp and are also full of antioxidants. Fish oil such as salmon, sardine, halibut and tuna are also exceptional choices. Krill and fish oil are available in capsule form, making it very simple to ensure the daily requirement is met.
For vegans and vegetarians, plant and nut based oils like that found in flax seeds, walnuts and leafy greens are good options, although they will have to be converted into the EPA and DHA fats.
So far there seem to be almost unlimited positive health benefits to making Omega 3’s part of your daily diet. Since a supplement is easy and convenient to take, everyone can reap the rewards of this heart healthy, fat burning, disease fighting, mood boosting super nutrient.