What Are Omega 3s? (Nucific)
What are Omega 3s? You might’ve seen or heard about Omega-3s over the years — often in relation to dietary supplements and heart health. But what exactly are Omega 3s, and what role do they play in the human body? And more importantly, what scientific evidence is there to support Omega-3s’ health benefits?
Read on to learn all about omega-3s and why they are so amazing for our health. If you’re considering making any dietary changes to include more Omega-3s, make sure you first consult your doctor.
What Are Omega-3s And Why Are They Important?
Essential fatty acids, or Omega-3 fats, are present in the cell membranes, and they’re known to aid in healthy and optimal cellular function. These fats are an essential component in blood clotting, as well as making sure your blood vessels and arteries are functioning properly. Omega-3s also play a role in maintaining regular heart rate and supplying energy for essential daily functions.1
This is the reason why supporting cardiovascular health is often top of the list of health benefits of Omega-3 acids, but that’s not all they can do for you.
How Do You Get Them?
Your body can usually make or synthesize most of the fats it requires for daily function on its own. However, this can’t be said of Omega-3s, which are known as essential fatty acids. The body can’t produce these fatty acids, so the supply must come from foods you eat or supplements.2
Benefits Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Read on for possible ways eating more Omega-3-rich foods, or taking fish oil supplements, might benefit your brain and body’s health.
Studies show that supplementing your diet with Omega-3 fatty acids might help support mental health as well as a positive mood.3,4
Age-Related Health Issues
Researchers have found that having higher amounts of Omega-3s in your body can help support joint and nerve health in more mature patients, specifically with regards to the loss of mobility and stiffness.5
Another key benefit researchers have found is that Omega-3s, specifically DHA, may help support vision health as you age.6
Researchers have found that higher doses of Omega-3 in the body may help support healthy cholesterol levels already within a normal range. They also support the healthy function of the arteries and blood vessels.7
This, along with other similar studies, have led researchers to conclude that being more intentional with your Omega-3 dietary intake may help support overall cardiovascular health.8
Omega-3s Might Help Support Better Sleep Quality
A study has concluded that high doses of Omega-3s in a person’s diet may support both better sleep length and quality, which carries in itself a host of other health benefits. Respondents in the study included more fish in their diet, and thus reported a more stable heart rate, improved sleeping patterns, and better functioning during their waking hours.9
Are Omega-3 Fats Good For The Skin?
Simply put: Yes, Omega-3s do carry benefits for your skin. This is perhaps an often-overlooked effect of Omega-3s — they contribute to a variety of skin-specific functions, including supporting healthy oil production and protection from sun damage.10
Now that you’re fully aware of the role Omega-3 fats play in your health, here is a simple guide to which foods contain high doses of each type.
Types Of Omega-3s And Foods That Contain Them
Omega-3s is the blanket term for a group of three essential polyunsaturated fats. They can come from varying sources, so it’s important to have access to a wide range of Omega-3-containing foods.
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): Found in fish and seafood like wild salmon, albacore tuna, and shellfish
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): Also found in fish and seafood
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): Found in leafy plants or vegetables, vegetable oils(like walnut oil and cod liver oil), walnuts, and flax11
Other foods that are an excellent source of omega-3s include:
- Chia seeds (5064 mg per 2 Tablespoons serving size)
- Avocados (223 mg per avocado)
- Navy beans (322 mg per cup)
- Brussels sprouts (270 mg per cup, cooked)12
Dietary Guidelines For Consuming Omega-3s
For context, the adequate amount of Omega-3s per day is around 1600 mg.13 With that being said, you should consult your doctor about the proper dose of Omega-3s for you.14
Need a good place to start adding Omega-3s to your healthy diet? Try including more fatty fish rich in omega-3s to your meals. Salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna are all examples of fatty fish. The American Heart Association advises consuming at least 2 servings of this type of fish weekly, at about 3.5 ounces (or ¾ cup flaked) per serving size.15
Use Of Omega-3 Supplements
If you’re allergic to seafood, concerned about mercury content, or if you have limited access to plant-based omega-3 foods, consider talking to your doctor about adding an Omega-3 supplement.16,17
Omega-3s For Optimal Health
It’s worth making room in your diet for foods rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Whether you’re a hardcore seafood lover, or you’ve adopted a plant-based lifestyle, there’s no reason not to consume Omega-3s for optimal health. Talk to your doctor about incorporating Omega-3s into your diet. You’ll be glad you did.