Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

These are types of essential, polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are used to make cell membranes, sex hormones and hormone-like chemicals known as series 3 prostaglandins. They include EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which are found mainly in ocean fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, and ALA (alpha­linolenic acid) found mainly in flaxseed oil. The omega-3 fatty acids are very important to the body's health. They reduce blood stickiness, blood clotting, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and inflammations. In this way they help to prevent heart attacks and strokes. In one study, a daily consumption of 1-5 g of omega-3 fatty acids was found to reduce the death risk of coronary heart disease in men by 40 per cent. Supplemental EPA was shown to reduce the levels of triglycerides and fibrinogen, a protein involved in blood clotting.

ALA can be converted in the body to EPA, and similarly, EPA can be converted to DHA. EPA however, is considered the most beneficial of the omegas. It is the best source for the body's own production of beneficial prostaglandins that also help reduce inflammation. As such, EPA is considered very helpful in heart disease and inflammatory conditions like arthritis, and is the reason why heart patients and arthritics are often advised to eat ocean fish instead of meat. EPA is now also available in capsule form, and is sold as a food supplement in health food stores. DHA is particularly important for the eye tissue and for brain development in infancy.

Improving your intake of omega-3 oils may help you in

  • reducing body fat by removing fat from fat cells and transporting it to muscle tissue where it is converted into energy.
  • improving psoriasis.

Omega-3 oils Deficiency Symptoms

  • Dry Skin
  • Frequent infections
  • Poor co-ordination
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammatory diseases such a rheumatoid arthritis, eczema and psoriasis

Omega-3 oils Food Sources

Two tablespoons of flaxseed daily or 100g oily fish at least twice a week should be sufficient for your needs. These fats are prone to damage by cooking, food processing and exposure to light. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • oily fishes such as herring, mackerel and salmon
  • flaxseed
  • hemp
  • sunflower and pumpkin seeds

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