If you aren’t familiar with Omega-3 fatty acids, it’s time to learn a little about these essential fatty acids. Your body needs Omega-3 fatty acids, but it can’t make them on its own. That means that you either need to eat food naturally rich in Omega-3 fatty acids or take a supplement to ensure you have enough of them for optimum body performance and health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are critical to your overall health, particularly the health of your nervous system and brain. They are also important to your circulatory system, as they may reduce the risk of heart disease, a leading killer of adults.
What Are Natural Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
If you are wondering whether or not you get enough Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, it’s easy enough to determine. Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally occurring in certain fish and seafood, including mackerel, lake trout, salmon, tuna, halibut, krill, and algae. Omega-3 fatty acids also occur in some plants and nuts, such as hemp seeds. If you aren’t eating fatty fishes twice a week or regularly eating hemp seeds or similar nuts, you may need to supplement your Omega-3 fatty acid intake to ensure you are getting enough of these essential fatty acids for your overall health.
What Happens When You’re Low on Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
If your diet doesn’t include sufficient Omega-3 fatty acids and you aren’t supplementing your intake, you may develop a deficiency. There are a variety of symptoms that go along with an Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, including memory issue, fatigue, heart problems, dry skin, poor circulation, mood swings, and depression. Children whose mothers do not consume enough fatty acids during their pregnancy may be at increased risk of developing vision or nerve problems as they grow and age.
Why Balancing Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids Is Important
Many people eating a typical American diet consume as much as 14 to 25 times as much Omega-6 fatty acids as Omega-3fatty acids. The higher the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3, the worse the overall risk is for serious inflammation. One of the best ways to balance these two essential fatty acids is to supplement your Omega-3 fatty acids or follow a Mediterranean diet, which includes whole grains, vegetables, healthy sources of fat, and even moderate wine consumption.
What Are the Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
In general, Omega-3 fatty acids play a critical role to your ongoing health and well-being. Some of the potential benefits of increased Omega-3 fatty acid intake are:
- lower total cholesterol
- higher good cholesterol
- reduced risk of heart disease
- slowed development of arterial plaque
- reduced risk of osteoporosis by aiding in the absorption of calcium
- reduced symptoms for those suffering from depression or bipolar disorder
- reduced risk of blood clots
- reduced risk of a stroke
- lower blood triglycerides
- may reduce pain and joint stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis
- lower blood pressure in people with hypertension
- slowed cognitive decline in aging adults
Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t a cure-all or even a treatment for these conditions. However, it is possible that balancing your Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acid intake can offer a variety of health benefits. The better the quality of the supplement, the better the chance of experiencing health benefits from your Omega-3 supplementation.
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