We hear all the time how bad fat is for us and how we should cut down on the amount of fat we consume. In short, this is great advice. Monitoring whatever you eat is a positive step towards optimizing health through a healthy daily diet plan. However, there is one type of fat that you shouldn't worry about cutting back on and that is omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) which we are unable to synthesize ourselves so instead we must obtain them through diet and supplementation.
Many celebrities have tuned in to the amazing benefits of omega-3 and know they are onto a good thing when it comes to the amazing health benefits of this ‘good’ fat! There is even an Omega-3 diet that follows a 14-day diet plan to aim to lose 9lb in a two week period.
When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, there are three important ones to consider: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
ALA is predominantly found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds (1).
DHA and EPA are found in cold-water fatty fish including salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies.
DHA and EPA are the key significant elements that you must look out for when purchasing an omega-3 supplement, the higher the levels, the better quality the product is. If you are looking to buy, do your research and check out some review sites to better understand what warrants a good product and was is working for other people out there.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for a number of bodily functions and the key to optimizing health.
Here, we list our top 10 benefits for your heart, mind, body, and soul.
1. Benefit #1 - Boost Cardiovascular Health
One of the most well-known benefits of omega-3 is how it can help keep your heart healthy. Scientific evidence suggests that people in countries that consume large amounts of fish have a lower incidence of heart disease and cardiovascular issues (2).
The key benefits of omega-3 for optimal heart health are attributed to several key areas.
- Inflammation: Omega-3s reduce the production of some substances released during the inflammatory response (3).
- Blood Pressure: Omega-3s can reduce blood pressure levels in people with high blood pressure (4).
- Triglycerides: Omega-3s can cause a major reduction in triglycerides, usually in the range of 15–30% (5).
- Cholesterol: HDL-cholesterol: Omega-3s can raise HDL (the "good") cholesterol levels (6). For some people, omega-3s can also lower LDL (the "bad") cholesterol. However, the evidence is mixed and some studies actually find increases in LDL (7).
Saying all of this, there is very little specific scientific evidence to support omega-3 actually preventing heart attacks or strokes with some studies actually finding no evidence at all that omega-3 helps. (8).
There is strong evidence to support the notion that omega-3 holds many positive benefits for your heart. That said, with several studies not finding any strong evidence to support this, you must make sure to be consumer savvy and make sure you buy a top quality supplement. This means looking for a supplement with high levels of EPA and DHA to get the very best results.
2. Benefit #2 - Help Reduce The Symptoms Of Childhood Asthma
Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus (9). It is considered to be a chronic lung disease.
The symptoms of asthma include coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing (10).
Mortality from asthma in the United States has increased twofold since the 1970s with a variety of explanations as to why. Pollution, diet, allergens, and infections being some of the culprits. Asthma attacks can be very dangerous and are caused by an inflammation of the airways.
Make sure to include omega-3 fatty acids in your child's daily diet. The evidence is mounting that this essential fatty acid can help improve symptoms and prevent future attacks. This addition to a daily diet could be a life-saving choice.
3. Benefit #3 - Bone Health
When it comes to our bone health, omega-3 is something that works to strengthen the bones, especially as we age. Conditions such as osteoporosis are very common conditions to affect the body. Certain groups are more likely to experience these conditions specifically, as we age the chances are higher that these may become an issue to deal with.
It is never too early to start taking care of our bones, after all, they have to carry us around for many years to come so it would make sense ensure they remain healthy and strong. Check out manufacturers that offer milk that contains omega-3 making it even easier to introduce this essential fatty acid into our body.
4. Benefit #4 - Enhance Joint Mobility & Movement
Omega-3 has long been known as a weapon against arthritis and other similar joint issues that provide challenging and painful symptoms. Omega-3 can reduce inflammation which is responsible for the swelling and pain that occurs when joints are in poor health.
Several research studies have found that subjects reported a reduction in pain when taking an omega-3 supplement. They also reported increased grip strength (15).
Fish oil supplements with high levels of EPA & DHA has been shown to curb stiffness and joint pain. Start early and use omega-3 to prevent deterioration of joint health and reduce the possibility of arthritis.
5. Benefit #5 - Reduce Menstrual Pain
Menstrual pain occurs in the lower abdomen and pelvis and often radiates to the lower back and thighs. Omega-3 has been shown to reduce inflammation which in turn reduces the pain caused when menstruation occurs.
It can result in significant negative effects on a person's quality of life.
However, studies have repeatedly shown that women who consume the most omega-3s have milder menstrual pain (16).
One study even found that an omega-3 supplement was more effective than ibuprofen in treating severe pain during menstruation (17).
A few studies have found that women who took fish oil had less menstrual pain than those who took a placebo. Studies show that a daily serving of 1000 mg if fish oil is enough to significantly reduce the painful symptoms associated with menstrual pain.
6. Benefit #6 - Boost Healthy Sleep Patterns
Establishing good sleep patterns is essential in maintaining optimal health. Sleep deprivation has been linked to many illness and disease including diabetes, weight gain, depression and heart disease (18, 19, 20).
Low levels of DHA have also been linked to lower levels of the hormone melatonin, which helps you fall asleep (21).
Studies in both children and adults have shown that supplementing with omega-3 increases the length and quality of sleep (22).
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to impact upon the sleep quality and duration of both adults and children. By introducing a quality omega-3 supplement on a daily basis, sleep patterns may be improved.
Our Bottom Line On Omega-3
The evidence is pretty solid for how omega-3 fatty acids can favorably modulate disease processes, such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, and hypertriglyceridemia (23).
There is little to suggest that omega-3 is not a helpful addition to your daily dietary menu. In this article, we outline and detail 6 of the top benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.Truth is, the list is endless when it comes to this helpful fatty acid and what health benefits it brings with it. There are many more benefits that can be attributed to this healthy fatty acid and the joy it can bring to your body.
If you are going to choose just one nutritional health supplement to add to your daily diet, you would be doing yourself a huge favor by adding an effective daily dose of omega-3!