According to research conducted by the US National Institute of Health, a high percentage of American adults are not meeting optimal levels of omega 3 intake.
This deficiency can lead to a variety of health issues if not addressed through diet or supplementation. With a little preparation though, you can make sure you’re getting enough of these fatty acids!
What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
Omega 3’s are vital nutrients that are essential for good health. They are found naturally in many foods, as well as in popular supplements like fish oil. Omega 3 fatty acids consist of three main types:
- Eicosapentaenoic acid(EPA)
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Common sources of ALA include soybeans, canola oil, and flaxseeds whereas EPA and DHA sources can be found in seafood and fish.
ALA can’t be created naturally within our bodies and that’s why doctors call it an essential acid. This means you can only get ALA from food or a supplement. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, it can be especially tricky to consume enough essential fatty acids (luckily there are some new vegan Omega 3 supplements on the market).
What are the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids?
Scientists have linked Omega 3 acids to a decrease in chronic heart-related problems. Consuming these fatty acids can improve your cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega 3 fatty acids have also been linked to the following benefits:
- Helps combat anxiety and depression
- Improves the health of your eye
- Promotes enhanced brain activity during early stages of pregnancy
- Can minimize symptoms of ADHD
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Known to decrease obesity
- Fights inflammation
- Boosts your immune system
- Improves mental health
- Alleviates menstrual pain
- Healthy bone and joint development
- Reduces the fat in your liver
- Can reduce Asthma in children
Omega 3’s are also great for your skin!
Eat These Foods for Omega 3’s
The following 6 foods are some of my favorite options for increasing the amount of fatty acids in your diet.
Not only is it rich in Omega 3, but salmon is also high in vitamins D, phosphorus and proteins. It contains a good balance of both DHA and EPA fats.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a good source of omega 3 while rich in proteins, magnesium, calcium, vitamins, and fibers. Incorporating chia seeds into your diet is a great way of taking healthy omega.
These are the only tree nuts rich in alpha-linolenic acid. While most omega 3 sources are your typical meats, walnuts provide a natural organic way of consuming omega you need. It is an essential source and a favorite of vegans and vegetarians.
This shellfish delight contains a boatload of nutrients including zinc, vitamin B 12 as well as omega 3 fatty acids. Oysters can be eaten as snacks or raw – while eating them raw may sound alluring, they pack even richer nutrients than when cooked.
Sardines are small oily fish rich in omega. They can be eaten in numbers due to their miniature structure. They are very nutritious especially when consumed whole as they provide most of the nutrients to fit your body requirements.
Saving the best for last, flaxseeds are considered a superfood due to the immense health benefits they provide. These seeds can help with weight gain and sugar cravings. Aside from that, they are nutritious and one of the richest sources of Omega 3. They can be found in oils or ground up and used in foods.
Omega 3 fatty acids have a wide array of health benefits, and should be a staple of your diet. That said, many Americans are deficient in these fatty acids.
If you’re concerned that you might not be getting enough Omega 3’s, try consuming more of the foods discussed in this article or consider a daily fish oil supplement.