The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Have you ever been a part of a big group trying to decide which restaurant to go to for dinner? Somehow the fun idea of dining out with friends turns into an aggravating situation of managing opposing sides. We all have our preferences – from the “just keep it simple” eater to the “I’ll try anything once” adventurous diner – knowing what you like and sticking to it is fairly common. If you happen to fall in to the “seafood lovers” category, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Although you might not always win the group restaurant battle, you can find solace knowing you are actually the real winner when it comes to your health. Fish and shellfish are not only considered healthy food options when prepared correctly, they also happen to contain a very beneficial type of fat: Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Anxiety and Inflammation

Normally when we hear the words “fatty” and “acid” we do not associate this with something that is good for us. Omega-3 Fatty Acids have a deceiving title, but they play many positive roles in our health and wellbeing. They provide our bodies with energy, they help make up the membranes that surround our cells, and they even have a hand in the functioning of our hearts. Research has suggested that Omega-3 Fatty Acids may reduce anxiety and inflammation in healthy young adults. Further studies link Omega-3 Fatty Acids to cardiovascular health, infant health and development.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are what are known as essential fats, meaning our bodies do not produce them naturally. Normally our bodies make the fats that we need by changing other fats we have stored or ingested into the good stuff we can use; however, this is not the case with Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Therefore, we have to be sure we are getting enough of these essential fats. We can do so by choosing foods that offer us Omega-3 fats or by taking them in supplement form.

There Are A Variety of Omega-3 Supplements

There are three different types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. The first two, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are both found in fish and shellfish. The third fatty acid is Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is not found in seafood, but can be ingested through leafy vegetables, plant oils (such as vegetable oil, flaxseed oil and soybean oil), certain nuts and seeds, and some animal fats. National guidelines recommend that American adults consume eight or more ounces of seafood per week because of the healthy nutrients it provides. However, if seafood just does not appeal to you, there are a variety of Omega-3 supplements including fish oil, cod liver oil and even a vegetarian option made from algae.

So, the next time you find yourself in a restaurant battle with friends, you do not have to rely on your taste preferences alone. Now you can go to bat for the amazing new seafood restaurant you’ve been dying to try by sharing your knowledge of all the amazing benefits that Omega-3 Fatty Acids have on your health. Good luck!


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