The human body is able to produce an essential part of the fats it needs by processing other fats and foods consumed in the diet.
Nevertheless, this does not apply to omega-3 fatty acids. The human body cannot draw these fundamental fats from scratch and must only get them from certain food rich in omega-3 fats. The vivid examples of foods enriched with omega-3 fats are fish, vegetable oils, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.
What Makes Omega-3 Fats so Special?
Omega-3 fats are the integral building blocks of cell membranes all over the body. Additionally, they affect the functioning of cell receptors in these membranes. They serve as a starting point for producing hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. Among other functions, omega-3 fats are also bound to cells receptors that participate in encryption of genetic code. It is quite likely that due to this feature the use of omega-3 fats can potentially be included in the prevention of inherent genetic diseases and help to overcome heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play a protective role in cancer and other conditions.
Types of Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fatty acids belong to the polyunsaturated fats family, and they are divided into three main groups:
• First two are Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can be found in fish, so they are sometimes called marine omega-3s.
• The third one is Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is the most common omega-3 fatty acid presented in the Western diet, is found in vegetable oils and nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds and flaxseed oil, leafy vegetables, and some animal fat, specifically in grass-fed animals.
Most commonly, the human body uses ALA to generate energy, while conversion of EPA and DHA is much more limited.
Where to Get Omega-3 Fats?
Without a doubt, the best way to cure yourself is to feed with all necessary elements from a natural source of origin.
Beneficial nutrition highly saturated with omega-3fats includes the following foods:
• Flaxseed Oil (Cold Pressed), Canola Oil, Soybean Oil
• Fish Oil, Salmon, Menhaden, Sardine, Cod Liver Oil, Herring
• Chia Seeds
• Walnuts and Walnuts Oil, Butternuts, Black Walnuts, Beechnuts, Hickory Nuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pistachios, Macadamia Nuts
• Fish Roe, Caviar
• Cured and Canned Fish, Smoked Salmon, Salted Mackerel, Kippered Herring, Canned Anchovy, Canned Mackerel, Canned Salmon, Canned Sardines
• Oily Fish, Mackerel, American Shad, Farmed Salmon, Salmon, Wild Salmon, Herring, Anchovy, Tuna, Halibut, Trout, Swordfish
• Seafood, Oysters, Mussels, Squid, Clams
• Soybeans (Roasted), Dried-Frozen Tofu (Koyadofu), Fried Tofu, Raw Firm Tofu, Fuyu (Fermented Tofu)
• Spinach (Cooked or Boiled), Winter Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Kale, Broccoli
In case if you do not eat fish, you can consider specific supplements such as Fish Oil and Algae Oil enriched with EPA and DHA. Nevertheless, it is better to consult a certified nutritionist to get an individual recommendation regarding types and doses depending on your health or certain medicines you take.
The advantages of omega-3 fats are undeniable, and they are a key element in the prevention of heart disease with other genetic conditions and favorable part of nutrition during pregnancy. If you are still thinking about what to cook for dinner today, rest assured, the dishes rich in omega-3 fats will please your appetite and at the same time will bring a huge health benefit.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution. Accessed from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
The Facts on Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Accessed from: http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet#2
Omega-3 fatty acids. Accessed from: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
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Chen is a Functional Nutrition expert consultant, leading authority on weight management, women’s health and gluten sensitivity. She is a clinician, public speaker, educator and Amazon Best Seller author of “What If Gluten Free Is Not Enough – The Balanced Diet”.
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