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Nothing Fishy Here: Diving into the basics and benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat, essential for human health. Unlike other fats our bodies can manufacture, omega-3s must be obtained through diet or supplements. These superstar nutrients play a crucial role in various bodily functions, impacting everything from your brain health to heart function. 


Omega 3 lowers blood pressure, reduces triglycerides in the blood, helps reduce joint inflammation in rheumatoid disease, helps nourish brain and eyes functions, helps prevent and alleviate dementia, depression, asthma, migraine, and diabetes, and helps reduce the risk and preventing heart disease and ischemic stroke.


There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids:


  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): When you think of omega-3s, most picture these two sub-types abundant in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna. These are the most studied and beneficial forms of omega-3s.

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): Lesser known, these are primarily found in plant-based sources like flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. The absorption of this omega-3 is lower in the human body than its more widely known counterparts. 


Omega-3s offer a vast array of health benefits, with research continuously uncovering more.

Here are some of the key advantages:


  • Heart Health Champions: Omega-3s play a significant role in promoting heart health. They can help lower triglycerides, a type of blood fat linked to heart disease risk. 

  • Brainpower Boosters: DHA is a crucial component of brain cells, and adequate omega-3 intake is vital for cognitive function and development throughout life. Omega-3s may help improve memory, learning, and focus, and may even play a role in preventing age-related cognitive decline.

  • Anti-inflammatory All-Stars: Chronic inflammation is linked to various health problems. Omega-3s possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, potentially aiding conditions like arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Mood Mediators: Research suggests omega-3s may play a role in mood regulation. Studies have shown a potential benefit for people with depression and anxiety. 


The recommended daily intake of omega-3s varies depending on factors like age and health

status. However, most healthy adults can benefit from including two servings of fatty fish per

week in their diet.


For those who don't enjoy fish or have dietary restrictions, omega-3 supplements like fish oil or algae oil could be a viable option. Fish oil supplements may interact with certain medications or supplements. Do not take them without your doctor's approval if you are on any medications (especially blood thinning drugs) or have chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, or any disorder of the pancreas.


Incorporating omega-3s into your diet is a simple yet powerful way to invest in your overall health and well-being. By including these essential fats in your meals or through supplements, you can support your heart, brain, and overall health for a brighter future.



Interested in more Omega-3 facts? Check out our fact sheet!


IFIC-Omega-3-Fact-Sheet
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